By Staff Reporter
THE production and possession of cannabis for recreational purposes remains illegal, Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa has said.
Government, last week, indicated that Zimbabweans can now apply for licences to grow cannabis, known locally as mbanje, for medical and research purposes.
The development made the southern African nation the second country in Africa to legalize cultivation of the plant.
However, some have warned that this would increase drug abuse and consequent health-related impacts.
Parirenyatwa clarified the government’s intent on Thursday.
“While locally cannabis has been used illegally for recreational purposes, the thrust of government is to harness this use in medicine and medical research including industry in a legal and well-regulated environment,” he said.
“There are three divisions. The first one is the recreational use which is completely illegal in this country, the second medicinal use and the third industrial use.
“By recreational, we mean the smoking of cannabis to get high which is an illegal act in this country.”
He added; “Our thrust and desired focus is for industrial, medicinal and scientific use.
“I need to emphasise this, this has to be under licence. Possession of cannabis other than for medicinal or scientific purposes is therefore illegal in Zimbabwe.
“Government will use a multi-sectoral approach to regulate and grow this industry.”
According to the health ministry, 45 percent of all mental cases are triggered by drug and alcohol abuse.
Youths around the country are taking all sorts of substances including mental health tablets (blue tablets), glue, musombodhiya (strong illicit alcoholic drink), bronclear (bronco), alcohol and cocaine.