The growing and selling of cannabis for medical and research purposes became legal in Zimbabwe in 2018 after the government gave the green light to farmers and investors alike. This made Zimbabwe the second African state to do so.
The growing of medicinal cannabis is governed by the Dangerous Drugs (Production of Cannabis for Medicinal & Scientific Use) Regulations S.I 2018-062. According to the regulations, in order for a person to grow medical cannabis in Zimbabwe, one must:
- Apply for a licence from the government
- Supply three copies of the plan of the proposed cultivation site (to ensure it complies with the regulations)
- Pay a $40,000 licence fee
- Pay an annual return fee of $15,000
- Apply to renew the licence when necessary ($20,000)
- Pay a research fee (if applicable) of $5,000 – to renew, this is $2,500.
Farmers of cannabis for medical and research purposes must also clearly state their plans for the site, along with estimates of quantities likely to be produced and sold. If the Minister of Health and Child Care regards their plans as a risk to public health and security, the applications will be rejected.
All licences are valid for five years and can be renewed. If the organisation wishes to grow cannabis at more than one site, they’ll need to apply for separate licences for all sites. Routine audits are also carried out to ensure that the actual activities on the site match what was declared in the original application.
As the production of cannabis for medicinal and research purposes is expensive, it is difficult for the ordinary Zimbabwean to enter into the market without investment. Therefore, the government set up policies and operational mechanisms to make foreign direct investment easier. The operational framework is administered through the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA)'s One Stop Investment Services Centre (OSICS).
The law was further changed to allow growers 100% ownership of their own business and the freedom to grow where they want. In the past growers were forced to grow on government owned land.
In conclusion, medical cannabis in Zimbabwe is fairly new. Most of the cannabis that is grown for medicinal and research purposes is exported to other countries. Zimbabwe remains fairly strict in terms of the laws governing the personal use of cannabis as it is still illegal. However, it is worth noting that even though it is expensive to obtain the license for medical cannabis cultivation, it is a fairly lucrative area.
Read the original publication at Kanokanga & Partners.