Subsequent cease for buyers from the hashish business: Malawi
The countries in Africa fall one after the other. First Lesotho, then Zimbabwe, then Zambia and now Malawi. Rapidly changing their cannabis regulations to promote global medical marijuana export markets. How is Malawi presented at the field fair?
Malawi is a landlocked country in southern Africa, bordered by Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia. Ten different ethnic groups are associated with Malawi, which has a population of approximately 21 million people. Most of the country works in agriculture, with the majority of subsistence farmers on smaller farms, while tea and tobacco are grown on large lots. This system has largely favored the larger estates, which has led to a large inequality of wealth. The majority of the population lives in extreme poverty, which leads to high child mortality rates, chronic and widespread malnutrition and general illness. General life expectancy is in the low 60s.
Much like Zimbabwe, which was also heavily dependent on tobacco exports, Malawi was in the market for a new industry and got its introduction into the African green rush just right. As Minister of Agriculture Kondwani Nankhumwa said: "The legalization of this crop will contribute to economic growth as it will help diversify the economy and increase exports in the country, especially at a time when tobacco exports are falling."
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Cannabis laws in Malawi for citizens
According to the Dangerous Drugs Act, "the minister can, by regulation, prohibit, control or restrict the production or possession of illegal substances". Since human trafficking is the bigger problem and law enforcement uses up most of its energy, usage crimes are generally overlooked. Since 1961, when Malawi signed the United Nations Convention on Narcotic Drugs, it has been illegal to sell or deliver cannabis in the country. This hasn't stopped cannabis smuggling from being fairly routine, for which Malawi has been criticized.
Citizens are not allowed to grow cannabis, hemp, or marijuana in any form, but it still occurs frequently, with illegal cannabis cultivation being the primary activity when malawi is concerned with illegal drug law violations. Anyone caught illegally growing and cared for can now face up to 25 years in prison and a fine of approximately $ 70,000.
CBD, medical and religious
CBD or cannabidiol, one of the non-psychoactive components of the cannabis plant that has many medicinal benefits, is exempt from the laws for the rest of the plant, but there seems to be ambiguity in the terminology, and it's actually not legal there just grown and produced for export.
Regarding medical use, the new bill has implemented a medical program for the country's residents, but it remains to be seen how well it will be done. Some of the key points are patients who need a registration card. The distribution of cannabis from doctors to patients can only take place in the presence of inspectors and police officers, and no adequate documentation is provided or false information regarding access and use of the cannabis program can be fined and up to five years in prison be punished.
Malawi is home to a small Rastafarian community that is committed to religious legalization. This bill not only granted no laws on recreational use or personal use, but also did not recognize religious usage rights.
Religiously Legalized – How the Rastafarian tradition helps simplify cannabis regulation in the Caribbean
Cannabis laws for business use
Earlier this year, cannabis was legalized in Malawi for medical and industrial purposes. The bill contains certain points for the regulation of the industrial cannabis market, including:
The Cannabis Regulatory Authority (CRA) is the new agency responsible for licensing the cultivation, processing, distribution, and export of products for industrial hemp and medical cannabis programs. The CRA will also issue research permits. License holders must comply with CRA security requirements related to growing, selling, exporting, processing, distributing and storing. Cultivation must be carried out under strict conditions, including children not involved, conservation of the natural environment and compliance with very high soil standards, including fertilizers and pesticides. Inspectors are appointed by the rating agency to ensure compliance. Cultivation and supply operations that have not been approved by the government are fined and up to 25 years in prison.
Hemp cultivation is allowed with up to 1.0% THC. This means that it is above the 0.2% that is permitted under current EU cannabis use standards, but is in line with other countries that have recently set their THC limit higher.
How is the business going?
As Malawi has only recently made its regulatory updates, it is expected that not all parts will be available yet. It can often take years for a country to establish its licensing and regulatory framework. Therefore, it is not yet known how much licenses cost and whether other provisions must be complied with by potential licensees.
Regarding the foreign interest in using Malawi for his own cannabis production projects, Joshua Nthankomwa, director of investment promotion, said in 2018, before the laws were passed: “We have registered great interests from companies in Canada, Israel and many other places. We look forward to many more investors, not only in this sector, but also in many other sectors that the government has created to grow its business. "
African hold for British entrepreneurs in partnership with Aphria
The first company to receive a research license to grow cannabis in Malawi was Invegrow, which conducted experiments with low-THC hemp back in 2015 to test hemp as a practical culture and determine viable seed strains. His attempts were used to help the government develop commercial legalization laws. Invegrow is already represented in the country and intends to start producing hemp extracts and essential oils with a wide range for export.
Other international companies had expressed interest in Malawi prior to legalization, including Green Quest Pharmaceuticals, which requires 50,000 hectares of land to grow industrial hemp for the manufacture of products such as clothing and medicine. South African / Canadian Graham Macintosh, an investor in Green Quest Pharmaceuticals, was among a group of lobbyists who encouraged politicians to create regulations that would enable them to do so.
The investment in Africa
Africa has been a hot spot for foreign cannabis investments since Lesotho first opened its cannabis regulation in 2017 to enable the legal cultivation of medical cannabis. Zimbabwe and Zambia followed over the next few years, increasing every chance for investment and more companies interested in getting a foothold in their fertile, richly polluted country. These countries have cheap farm workers in the form of locals who are technically priced out of their own markets.
Whether Malawi will follow suit will only be known if more precise information on prices and rules for licenses is given. Former government officials said finding foreign investments is vital, and this could potentially lead to high license prices. If prices are kept low, on the other hand, this could mean more opportunities not only for locals to use their own land and benefit directly from the new market, but also for investors with less capital from abroad who do not have the larger capital of their own larger competitors, the chance to shop as well.
The African cannabis market is expected to reach $ 7.1 billion within four years
Malawi is probably not the last African country to enter the new legal medical cannabis market. In fact, several others in the general southern region (and elsewhere) are already reviewing legislation updates to participate. For anyone interested in Malawi or Africa in general as a place for their own potential investments, the latest news on pricing and specific laws and requirements for each type of facility should be closely monitored. Chances are that we will learn about all new deals in the new legal cannabis market in Malawi in the coming months.
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