ZAMBIA SHOULD CONSIDER LEGAL CULTIVATION OF CANNABIS

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THE economic benefits of legalizing the cultivation of weed in Zambia seem more obvious than otherwise.

We think legal cultivation of marijuana could mean a big push for our economy and big money for social-economic activities in the nation.

Neighbouring South Africa, Malawi, Zimbabwe and little Lesotho are already smiling after discovering that the legal cannabis industry is already contributing millions to their economies.

No doubt medical marijuana would not only create jobs for many unemployed Zambian youths but also set the ball rolling for economic activity in the pot industry in general.

This is because workers would be needed to farm, process, distribute, and sell marijuana-based products.

Further, there would be plentiful opportunities for secondary industries related to legitimate cannabis although not directly involved in its production and distribution.

We think too tht legal marijuana presents the prospect of fantastic benefits to our economy on a local and international magnitude.

We also feel that lawful farming of cannabis could help to secure the investment portfolios of investors across Zambia and further afield as well.

We are cognizant that while marijuana remains illegal in Zambia it is difficult for investors to capitalize on the growth of this industry.

In the likely event that marijuana becomes legal in Zambia cannabis companies would be free to list their stocks on the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE), thereby enhancing liquidity and opening up access to many more investors.

It is obvious therefore that should the growth rates for the cannabis space continue as they have in recent years, it is possible that investors would demonstrate a keen interest in the industry.

We are equally awake to the fact that detractors cite the potential for confusion among law enforcement officers aiming to keep up with shifting regulations, increased destitution or youth use of the drug, the latent for decreased property values, and much more.

Unfortunately all of these reasons combine to decrease the likelihood that cannabis will become legal any time soon in Zambia.

Perhaps this is why our Drug Enforcement Commission DEC in Mansa did not waste time in destroying over five tonnes of cannabis seized from over 160 accused persons in various cases in Mansa, Chembe, Milenge, Chipili, Mwense and Mwansabombwe districts.

The destruction exercise, which was conducted at the Mansa Municipal Council Dump site, included fresh and dry cannabis plants and seeds, pursuant to Section 34 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act Chapter 96 of the Laws of Zambia.

DEC Luapula Province regional commander, Charles Ndulumina said that the Commission will not relent in closely following up issues to do with drug trafficking and abuse.

He said that drug abuse has been prevalent among the youths who are growing and abusing drugs such as cannabis thereby being a menace to the public as well as destroying the lives of young people in the community.

Mr Ndulumina has since cautioned people in Luapula Province to desist from engaging themselves in cultivation of cannabis and concentrate on growing crops which are of benefit to the nation.

However Zambians may wish to know that while DEC is arresting people harvesting cannabis and destroying confiscated Marijuana has secured contracts to export medical marijuana products to Canada and Germany worth more than US$ 133,903.31 United States in June. South Africa is also one of the markets for unrefined cannabis buds/flower.

Isn’t this not enough food for thought for our authorities to open up their eyes and allow for legal cultivation of cannabis in Zambia?

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