Companies in Uganda can now start growing and exporting marijuana for medicinal use. This is after the Ministry of Health gave guidelines for the growing and exportation of marijuana.
Uganda has joined the list of African countries with relaxed laws on the cultivation and exportation of marijuana for medicinal and industrial use. Other countries include South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Ghana and Lesotho.
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.
Requirements for Companies and Individuals Wishing to Grow Cannabis
To start growing and exporting marijuana in Uganda, first, you must be cleared by the Uganda Revenue Authority. To get cleared, you need to present evidence of value addition for the cultivation of cannabis. You must also have least Ush 18.3 billion ($5m) of capital and a bank guarantee of Ush 4 billion. Individuals and companies must also provide a list of their employees and their job descriptions. They must also have a valid trading license and audited accounts.
For those growing and exporting marijuana, they must ensure that the cultivation sites are not near schools, hospitals, or residential areas. There must also be security system with access control systems to avoid easy access to farms by outsiders.
Companies that are planting and exporting marijuana are also expected to disclose their business partners. The growing of hemp in Uganda is strictly for export and not for local use. The abuse of marijuana remains illegal in Uganda.
Current Marijuana Practices in Uganda
Currently, the cultivation of cannabis in Uganda is for treating medical conditions like cancer, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Cannabis is also used for the treatment of neurological conditions. Some of the companies that are dealing in cannabis include Industrial Hemp Ltd in collaboration with an Israeli firm, Together Pharma Limited. The companies have invested over 1.3 trillion shillings for the cultivation and exportation of marijuana in Uganda.
Marijuana has many medical and industrial uses. It is used to get rid of chronic pains through pain management therapies. It is also used for scientific research like the development of chemicals like cannabinoid. Cannabis can treat a wide variety of diseases like epilepsy, spasticity, vomiting and nausea.
More than 100 companies, both local and foreign, have been given the green light to plant and export marijuana in Uganda. A special committee was formed to screen the companies that had applied to get approval. Only serious companies were approved for the cultivation of marijuana only for medicinal purposes.
Exportation of Marijuana by Ugandan Firms
Industrial Hemp Ltd has started exporting marijuana to Canada and Germany for medicinal purposes at Ush 600 billion. Among the exports from the Kasese farm include Cannabinol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It will be used in the manufacture of Sativex drugs that are approved in USA, Europe, and Canada.
The company is also exporting marijuana to Israeli after it signed a delivery order with Israel’s ministry of health to supply dry cannabis flowers.
Uganda is relying on the importation of marijuana seeds and potting soils from countries like Germany. On the other hand, Israel provides greenhouse infrastructure, technology, and security systems for the growth of cannabis in Uganda.
Companies Authorized to Cultivate and Export Marijuana in Uganda
Only two companies that have so far been cleared to grow and export marijuana; Industrial Hemp (U) Ltd, together with Pharma Ltd.
Companies that have applied for licenses include:
- Natgro Phama (U) Ltd
- Owesia U Ltd
- Dave and Dave Group
- Premier Hemp
- Sativa Agro-tech Ltd
- Medraw (U) SMC Ltd
- Prime Ranchers
- Silver Seeds (U) Ltd
- Seven Blades
- Cannops Africa
- Urban Properties (U) Ltd
- Quest Worths International Group
The cultivation and exportation of marijuana in Uganda will help the country profit from foreign exchange. It will also see the creation of jobs from companies that will be licensed to grow the crop. Nevertheless, there should be great care to prevent the abuse of the drug.