Multiple Countries in Africa Clearing the Way for Legal Cannabis Framework

By BCB Staff Writer

Marketing intelligence firm Prohibition Partners estimates Africa’s Cannabis market will be worth as much as $7.1 Billion by 2023. Led by Lesotho, the first country in Africa to grant an administrative license for the cultivation of marijuana, other countries that have followed the legalization suit are: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Morocco, Malawi, Ghana, eSwatini and Zambia. 

In many countries where cultivation is legal, so is the consumption of cannabis for medical purposes. In Rwanda and Uganda, for example, the plant is grown strictly for export purposes, the economic incentives too high to ignore, though, these regulations could quickly change or evolve. By improving regulation and legal environments, African countries are leaning on investment and technology to cultivate their lands, establishing industries to process and export cannabis products or exporting raw products. The states earn revenue from granting local licenses and taxing within the sector.

While many countries are seeing a boost because of these innovative methods of revenue, other countries, like Kenya are experiencing tremendous push-back because of religion and negative perception. Activists like the Rastafarian Society of Kenya say the movement to decriminalize is at an impasse. Followers of the religion have filed a petition to decriminalize the use of cannabis for spiritual purposes. 

Meanwhile in South Africa, the continent’s most industrialized economy, cannabis giants like Goodleaf are ushering in the cannabis industry with aplomb. South Africa is poised to take the biggest share of the African legal market, estimating the country will hit about $2 Billion. Officials in the country have a plan to industrialize and commercialize cannabis to support economic growth, create jobs and tackle poverty.

The trends are different all over the nutrient-rich continent and the underground markets are preparing to lean into legalization. 

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