Malawi is ready to start commercial production and processing of cannabis for medicinal and industrial use, the southern African country’s new Cannabis Regulatory Authority said on Tuesday. Reports Reuters who write
Malawi’s parliament passed a bill in February that makes it legal to cultivate and process cannabis for medicines and hemp fibre used in industry, but stops short of decriminalising recreational use.
An Act to make provision for regulation of research, cultivation, production, processing, possession, storage, exportation, importation, sale, distribution, and use of cannabis and its products for medicinal, industrial or scientific purposes under prescribed conditions and to provide for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto
Date of assent: 30 April 2020
Date of promulgation: 08 May 2020
Date of commencement: 08 May 2020
In force: Yes
A growing number of countries around the world are either legalising or relaxing laws on cannabis as attitudes towards the drug change. They include several in southern Africa, including Zambia, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
The board chair of Malawi’s regulator, Boniface Kadzamira, said his board had received more than 100 applications for licensing which were under review.
The agriculture ministry on Friday announced the license fees, which will range from $100 to $10,000 a year for the cultivation, selling, storage, distribution of either class of industrial and medicinal hemp.
According to the minister’s gazette dated Nov. 20 and seen by Reuters, public hospitals will pay $100 and private hospitals $200 as licence fees to dispense cannabis medicines.
“We have received an overwhelming response in terms of applications for licences, but applicants must appreciate that we’ll not give everyone a licence at once,” said Kadzamira.
Malawi’s new cannabis laws put dual emphasis on hemp cultivation and making CBD available to the local population. However, cannabis for recreational purposes remains strictly outlawed. The new Cannabis Regulatory Authority (CRA) will be in charge.
Malawi heralded in a new era on 27 February 2020 when Agriculture Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa presented to parliament Bill No. 5 regarding cannabis regulation in Malawi. The bill gives the Malawi government the mandate to create a Cannabis Regulatory Authority (CRA). The CRA will be responsible for licensing legal cannabis cultivation, for supervising compliance with the regulations, and for the correct distribution of medical cannabis to patients, amongst other key points which include:
- The creation of a Cannabis Regulatory Authority (CRA) responsible for licensing and regulating industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis programmes.
- The CRA will grant licences to cultivate, process, store, sell, export, and distribute cannabis.
- Exporting cannabis will require a licence.
- The CRA will also grant permits to conduct scientific research programmes on cannabis.
- Licencees will be required to comply with CRA’s security measures regarding cultivation, processing, storage, sale, exportation, and distribution of cannabis.
- Cannabis will also be grown under strict production practices, among them non-involvement of children, preservation of the natural environment, and compliance with quality standards regarding soil, fertilisers, and pesticides used in the crops.
- Qualified patients in the medicinal cannabis programme will be issued Registry Identification Cards.
- The CRA will appoint inspectors to check compliance and enforcement of the Cannabis Regulation law.
- The distribution of cannabis to patients will take place in the presence of Malawi’s inspectors and police officers.
- Cultivating, processing, or distributing cannabis in contravention of the law will be an offence liable to financial sanctions and to imprisonment for up to 25 years.
- Refusing to produce the documentation required to enter the medical cannabis programme or making false statements will be an offence liable to financial sanctions and imprisonment for up to five years.
- Hemp cultivation is allowed with up to 1.0% THC. This means that it’s over the 0.2% allowed in cannabis applications by current EU standards, but follows in line with other countries that have more recently set their THC limit higher.