In 2017, the tiny conservative nation of Lesotho, which is located within the borders of South Africa, became the first country on the continent to issue a medical marijuana cultivation license. Cannabis use is not uncommon at all in African nations, but until last year, it wasn’t legal in any of them.
And even though the plant is illegal almost everywhere in Africa, according to the United Nations’ 2017 World Drug Report, only the United States outranks the continent in the amount of marijuana that is produced and consumed domestically.
A South African court also ruled in 2017 that private cultivation and use of marijuana in a person’s home was not a crime because there is no victim. It is still illegal to cultivate, use, or distribute cannabis, and the court ruling is somewhat unclear, but there is currently a movement in the country to fully legalize marijuana.
But now, Zimbabwe is the next African country choosing to move forward with medicinal cannabis. In a notice issued by the health minister, the government just announced that individuals and corporations may apply for cannabis cultivation licenses. Previously, growing and possession could result in a twelve-year prison sentence.
Cannabis grown in Zimbabwe will only be legal for medicinal and research purposes, recreational use remains illegal for now.
The nations of Malawi and Ghana are also reportedly looking into different ways that they might bring some form of marijuana legalization to their countries.