By Alois Vinga
GOVERNMENT has authorised the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) to issue three specialised trade permits which will legalise cannabis trade related activities in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe legalised the production of cannabis (mbanje or dagga) for medicinal or scientific purposes in April 2018 through a notice published under Statutory Instrument 62 of 2018 (Dangerous Drugs – Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Scientific Use Regulations).
Last year, it announced that 37 local and private investors had shown interest in cannabis farming.
This year, through a cabinet decision and high-level meeting, a policy change enabling investors to hold 100% ownership of Medicinal Cannabis licences was made in order to improve the competitiveness of the sector both regionally and globally.
Under Statutory Instrument 218 of 2020 released Friday, Agriculture Minister, Anxious Masuka announced that AMA could proceed to issue special licences.
“The Authority may issue the following types of permit: a general cultivator’s permit; a research and breeding permit and an industrial hemp (cannabis) merchant’s permit,” the SI said.
The general cultivator’s permit authorises the permit holder to undertake, in accordance with the permit and these regulations, the cultivation of industrial hemp; processing hemp for marketing purposes; selling of hemp produce.
A permit holder is authorised to undertake the activities specified in a general permit only in respect of approved cultivars or, if the permit is limited to particular approved cultivars, the approved cultivars specified in the permit.
A research and breeding permit authorises the permit holder to undertake the procurement by a person within Zimbabwe of hemp of specified cultivars and varieties that are not approved cultivars.
The cultivation, for research purposes only, of new cultivars and varieties of hemp that are not approved cultivars among other privileges.
An industrial hemp merchant’s permit shall entitle the holder to supply industrial cannabis within Zimbabwe of industrial hemp and the procurement within Zimbabwe of industrial hemp among other privileges.
Cannabis farming and associated trade is allowed in Zimbabwe only for medicinal and industrial purposes.
Smoking the herb remains illegal and most legalized business activities around Cannabis are not allowed to advertise among other strict measures.