14 June 2018

Zimbabwe: Minister Parirenyatwa Clarifies Position on Cannabis Farming

The Minister Health and Child Welfare, Dr. David Parirenyatwa, has clarified the government's position for growing cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes.

In a recent statement issued by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr. Gerald Gwinji on behalf of Minister Parirenyatwa, he said the government had not suspended the farming of cannabis.

The statement was issued out after the Deputy Minister of Finance, Terrence Mukupe had indicated that the government had suspended cannabis farming as it sought to investigate reports received from investors who had applied for licenses to grow crop.

"There has been some miscommunication from different sources, which has caused misunderstanding with regards to government's position to create a framework through legislation, in which the growing, processing and marketing of cannabis and its products for medicinal and industrial use, by duly licensed and monitored entities is legalized," Minister Parirenyatwa said.

He said Statutory Instrument (SI) 62 of 2018 whose parent Act is the Dangerous Drugs Act (Chap 15:02), puts the legal framework for this and the SI had not been repealed nor had its implementation been suspended.

The minister also revealed that the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) was working on necessary provisions before implementation begins.

"The relevant licensing entity for the Ministry of Health and Child Care, MCAZ is with developing the necessary further guidelines to help in operationalization of this SI from a regulatory point of view," said Minister Parirenyatwa.

"Secondly, work in the actual production of cannabis and its products calls for a multi-sectoral or multiagency approach as several entities including ministries for agriculture, finance, home affairs, technology and security are also in the process of fine-tuning their roles and facilitation in this new industry.

"It is worth reminding ourselves that this is not a licence to grow mbanje for recreational use, neither is it a licence to sell mbanje on the streets, and it is certainly not a licence to smoke mbanje," he said.

The benefits by the government of legalising cannabis production are immense as palliative patients will be able to access treatment from easily available and affordable cannabis herbs. It is also welcome news when we consider the potential of the government raising tax revenue from export sales.

Research carried out by respected international scientists has shown that chemical compounds present in cannabis prolong life, improves judgment and quickens the mind.

Source: Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network

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