Potential Economic Benefits Of Cannabis In Africa

The rising trend for cannabis legalization is not exclusive to the United States. The world’s governments are gradually realizing that there is money to be gained from cannabis, and several nations have legalized its cultivation. There is a rising trend in Africa toward legalizing cannabis cultivation, harvesting, and export. However, just a few countries on the continent have approved legislation allowing its recreational use.

South Africa is one of the few African countries that allows possession and cultivation of cannabis but not for selling. But why is cannabis significant to Africa, and what does the future hold for other African countries? Consider the instance of Malawi, where the future may depend on cannabis cultivation.

Cannabis at Malawi

Malawi’s economy has always been dependent on tobacco, deriving 10% of its GDP from it, and accounting for 60% of all exported commodities. However, with global tobacco consumption dropping fast due to widespread prohibitions and the popularity of vaping, Malawi’s tobacco revenue has decreased by 50% in the previous decade, from more than $400 million to barely $210 million. It has caused a significant impact on Malawi’s economy.

President Lazarus Chakwera has urged tobacco growers to diversify and grow other crops, with cannabis at the front of the list. While it is illegal to consume or possess cannabis in Malawi, except for medicinal purposes, regulations have been amended to promote investment in cannabis plantations, with 35 licenses given to farmers.

Cannabis Exports to Legal Markets

Malawi is not the only place in Africa where legal cannabis plantations are being established. Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, South Africa, Congo, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Zambia are also interested in exporting cannabis. These countries have encouraged farmers to cultivate cannabis for export, and efforts are underway to legalize the substance in these countries.

Something else that has impacted the shift to cannabis farming is the COVID-19 pandemic. Demand for cannabis and vaping goods has soared in the previous 18 months, and there are no indications of these industries slowing down. What does the African cannabis market’s future hold?

The Future of the African Cannabis Market

What will happen in Africa is tied to the global cannabis market’s future, which appears to be positive. But there is one issue that African farmers face that might impede rapid development. Historically, farmers in various areas of Africa have cultivated cannabis for personal use and religious ceremonies, with the state frequently turning a blind eye. These are small-scale farmers, but they represent the future of the industry and are potential licenses applicants.

The issue is with the cannabis strains that the farmers cultivate. In Africa, a farmer would probably grow varieties with a high THC content. This is the primary psychoactive component of the plant that produces the euphoric effects. However, the foreign market is primarily interested in strains with low THC levels and a high CBD content. CBD is not psychoactive, but it does provide all of cannabis’ other advantages.

There is little question that the global cannabis industry is poised to explode soon, and it is anticipated that African countries can encourage farmers to produce cannabis rather than tobacco.

Original article: https://www.africanexponent.com/post/14683-what-can-cannabis-give-to-africas-economies