The debate concerning legalization of marijuana in some African countries is trending. But the mini debate that is quickly taking shape is that of the use of medical marijuana.
According to a report by New Frontier Data, Africa could have many financial gains if the continent starts growing marijuana for medical purposes. The report by the UK-based data analytics also reveal that legalizing cannabis in Africa for medical purposes could see the continent gain billions of dollars.
In part of the 2019 report, New Frontier Data asserts that the international demand for medical marijuana would see the continent gain about $7.1 billion annually. According to the report, the bulk of this money would come directly from the production sector.
The CEO of New Frontier Data, Giadha Aguire de Carcer said that Africa’s medical marijuana would find market in Europe and Canada, which gets much of its import from Colombia. He further added that there is a deficit in the demand in these two regions that Africa could help fill.
Furthermore, Africa would be a better option to Europe and Canada owing to the expected cost-effective supply.
The purpose of the report is to seek engagement with the involved stakeholders such as government officials, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and foreign investors about the potential financial benefits of growing weed for medical marijuana.
Apart from helping the African continent achieve major financial benefits, growing medical marijuana could help in achieving several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations. For example, legalizing medical marijuana could help in achieving improved health standards in the continent.
The governments of Africa have now been tasked with reshaping the cannabis industry to accommodate the new demand for medical marijuana in the future.
One African country that has been mentioned in the report is Uganda, which enacted a law in 2015 allowing the cultivation of medical marijuana for exportation. The Ugandan government issued a license to Industrial Hemp (U) Ltd to grow medical weed for exportation. This company works with an Israeli cannabis firm, Together Pharma Limited. The working relationship has enabled the opening of several marijuana farms in Uganda. Following the success of Industrial Hemp, more than 20 other companies have applied for the license.
In the report, the use of medical marijuana across faces a major setback because of the inadequate healthcare systems, which would limit access to the products.
In as much as some people have welcomed the move, some are against the move to plant this plant citing dangers of abuse in the country.
The main concern about legalizing growing of medical marijuana is that its usage in the country might not be controlled well. This calls for an enhanced vetting process to ensure that companies getting the license are capable of controlling the usage and maintaining it for the intended medical purposes.
A great source of income
There are many African families that depend on cannabis farming as the main source of income. This is despite its farming being illegal. Therefore, such families would benefit greatly if planting medical marijuana is legalized.