By Harare Bureau
GOVERNMENT has regularised the growing, processing and supply of industrial hemp (Cannabis) by farmers across the country for industrial purposes.
Industrial hemp is from the plant species Cannabis sativa and has been used worldwide to produce a variety of industrial and consumer products.
The revelations, which are contained in the Government Gazette published yesterday, come after Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi consulted Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo, in terms of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act.
“These regulations may be cited as the Criminal Law Codification and Reform (Persons who may lawfully possess, deal in or use industrial hemp) Regulations, 2019.
“In these regulations — “industrial hemp” means the plant cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not with a delat-9 tetrathydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0,3 percent on a dry weight basis,” read the regulations
Government said the prescribed persons shall cultivate industrial hemp for industrial purposes on farms approved by the Minister.
In April last year, Government legalised the production of cannabis (mbanje or dagga) for medicinal or scientific purposes.
This was announced by the then Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa in a Government Gazette under Statutory Instrument 62 of 2018 (Dangerous Drugs — Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Scientific Use Regulations).
Producers of mbanje must be licensed by the minister.
“An application for the issue of a licence in terms of section 27 of the Act shall be made to the Minister, in duplicate and shall be accompanied by the appropriate fee and three copies of a plan of the site proposed to be licensed which shall comply with the requirement specified in these regulations.
“In case of an individual, proof of citizenship or proof of being ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe or proof of an exemption by the Minister (will be required),” reads the regulations.
“In the case of a company, proof of citizenship or proof of being ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe of the majority of directors or proof of an exemption by the Minister and proof of incorporation in Zimbabwe of the company; and a declaration, signed and dated by the proposed authorised person in charge, stating that the authorised person in charge, the proposed responsible person in charge and, if applicable, the proposed alternate responsible person in charge, are familiar with the provisions of the Act (will be required),” reads the regulations.
The application for the licence must also provide a detailed description of the method that the applicant proposes to use for keeping records.
The minister has powers to audit the activities of the licensed producer with respect to cannabis.
Over the years the production and use of marijuana has been illegal in the country and possession of the drug attracted sentences of up to 12 years in jail.
Many jurisdictions, especially in Europe, North America, and South America, have liberalised controls on cannabis by decriminalising and/or legalising some instances of production, sales, possession, and use. African countries are also participating in this global wave of cannabis liberalisation.
Cannabis is an important crop in Africa. African farmers produce enough to meet demand on the continent and to export small quantities to Europe. Cannabis is not significantly imported into the continent, but international trading is common within Africa due to variations in supply, demand, law enforcement, and other farming opportunities.
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