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Zimbabwe to Legalize Hemp for Export

Officials in Zimbabwe announced a plan to legalize hemp and export hemp-based products to the global market.

Full story after the jump.

Zimbabwe plans to legalize hemp cultivation and production, hoping to spark an export market and boost its foreign currency earnings, Business Day reports. The announcement comes two months after the nation approved its first medical cannabis grow site.

Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said officials hope hemp will compete with mining and tobacco, Zimbabwe’s other top-earning industries. Mutsvangwa indicated that tobacco is “currently facing possibilities” of an international ban “due to its adverse effects on health.”

“Currently, Zimbabwe only allows for the cultivation and processing of cannabis specifically for medicinal and scientific purposes. In view of the foregoing, the law governing the use and control of hemp in the country will be repealed to reflect the current industrial thrust of the country.” – Mutsvangwa, to Business Day

Zimbabwe is currently facing a foreign currency shortage which has led to a lack of fuel, medicines, and basics such as bread.

The nation’s medical cannabis legalization was also partly due to economic factors and officials hoped the move would attract investors to Special Economic Zones, which offer investor incentives, including exemption from portions of the labor laws and black economic empowerment rules. They were established in Harare, Victoria Falls, and Bulawayo.

In May, medical cannabis firm Ivory Medical was granted approval to cultivate 10 hectares of medical cannabis at a prison – the project is a partnership between Ivory and the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, is partly funded by NSK Holdings & International Investors, and Portuguese firm Symtomax, which is providing technical and farming support.

Officials said they expect to see $7 billion from medical cannabis export sales by 2023 but they have not estimated what the potential revenues could be derived from industrial hemp exports.

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