An Overview on the State of Legalization of Medicinal and Industrial Hemp in Africa

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Many African countries have legalized growing and the use of cannabis to help them get out of poverty. Many African countries anticipate exporting hemp and growing their economies. Among the countries that have legalized the growth and use of hemp for industrial and medicibal use include Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Zambia, Ghana,South Africa, Malawi, and Rwanda being the latest.

The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) voted in December 2020 to remove marijuana from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs where it was listed as one of the most dangerous drugs. The decision is expected to highlight the medicinal and therapeutic potential of marijuana as well as drive scientific research into marijuana.

Hemp in Ghana

In March 2020, the Ghanaian parliament passed the Narcotics Control Commission Bill that legalized the growing and medicinal and industrial use of hemp. The Hemp Association of Ghana pushed for the legalization of hemp. The group is currently brokering for the export of hemp to help local farmers.

Besides, the Association stated that they are not advocating for smoking, but they promote the industry and seek new revenue sources for the government. The Association also aims at cleaning the environment and pushing for better drugs.

Hemp in South Africa

During the 13th state of the Nation Address, the President of South Africa said that the country would legalize the commercial use of hemp products. The aim is to help small scale farmers make a living and also create more jobs. In 2018, South Africa’s highest court legalized the use of cannabis by adults. In the same year, the South Africa Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) started issuing licenses to small-scale farmers for medicinal hemp cultivation.

Hemp in Malawi

Malawi’s parliament legalized the cultivation and industrial use of hemp in Malawi on February 26, 2020. However, not all hemp restrictions have been lifted for the general; use of hemp. Ikaros Africa is one of companies in Malawian that are testing the industrial use of hemp. The company aims at producing a full spectrum of organically produced hemp extracts and CBD hemp oil.

Hemp in Zambia

Zambia legalized the cultivation of hemp for its many economic and health benefits. A cabinet task force was mandated to look into the benefits of cannabis in December 2019. The Ministry of Health will do the licensing for the growth and use of hemp. Consequently, Zambia National Service will oversee the supervision of the cultivation of hemp in Zambia. Zambia legalized the growth of cannabis after a prolonged drought that led to massive crop failure. The production of marijuana will be used to produce local and export products like hemp oil, human and livestock food products.

Hemp Cultivation in Lesotho

The cultivation and use of cannabis in Lesotho are legalized. Hemp products do not have limits on THC. Lesotho Narcotics Bureau is in charge of licensing the cultivation and use of hemp. The use of hemp in Lesotho is legalized, whether for medicinal, recreational, or industrial use. Lesotho looks forward to processing hemp into finished products so that it can export finished products. The cultivation and processing of hemp products also aim to help create opportunities for the many unemployed youths.

Hemp Cultivation in Uganda

The government of Uganda legalized the cultivation of medicinal marijuana for exports in August 2019. The move aims to produce marijuana for therapeutic use, generate taxes, and create employment and investment opportunities. The recreational use of marijuana remains illegal. Those growing marijuana must get licenses and must not plant them near schools, hospitals and residential areas.

Rwanda Legalizes the Use of Hemp

Rwanda is the latest African country to legalize the use of hemp. Rwanda’s main objective is to cultivate hemp to ensure the production of drugs and psychotrophic substances for scientific uses. It will also ensure that Rwandans have access to access to medication. The cultivation of cannabis in Rwanda will be exclusively for export to ensure that it will not be abused. The law on drug use will continue to apply, and those found abusing the drug will face it. The government will give guidelines on the framework of cannabis cultivation, processing and exporting.

Final Word

The legalization of medicinal and industrial hemp in several African countries will alleviate poverty levels in those countries. It will also create job and investment opportunities. It is an excellent move by those governments to ensure their countries’ economic prosperity through the export of hemp. However, more emphasis should be put to avoid the abuse of hemp.


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