Saturday, July 11, 2020
Home Life Style Health & Fitness Malawi Parliament Allows Cultivation of Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes

Malawi Parliament Allows Cultivation of Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes

Malawi Parliament Okays Cultivation of Cannabis or Marijuana

By Lameck Masina

In Malawi, parliament has passed a bill which allows cultivation of cannabis for industrial and medicinal purposes. Backers of the bill say cannabis will boost the economy, which is largely dependent on tobacco. Anti-drug campaigners and religious conservatives say the move will encourage recreational use of marijuana.

Former lawmaker Boniface Kadzamira first brought the cannabis bill to parliament in 2014 amid opposition from fellow parliamentarians. Now, Kadzamira says he feels vindicated.

“I am very happy that finally the bill has passed because when I was starting this issue people thought I was crazy,” he said.  “They called me names. The national assembly, in fact, the first day laughed at me; they booed at me. But I was determined because I had the facts on my fingertips.” Kadzamira says the facts included research showing that hemp — a non-drug product of cannabis — can be used to produce soap, lighting oil, medicines and other useful products.

Malawi is now one of five southern African countries  — along with Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho and South Africa — that have legalized industrial hemp. South Africa went a step further in 2018 by decriminalizing recreational use of cannabis. Ben Kalua is an economics professor at Chancellor College of the University of Malawi. He says legalization will help the country diversify its agriculture-based economy.

“It’s economically viable because it has a very long value chain. It has so many by-products of industrial hemp including fiber for construction. There are all products that can be derived from that plant compared to tobacco,” he said. Malawi has long relied on tobacco, which accounts for about 13 percent of its gross domestic product and 60 percent of its foreign exchange earnings.

Cannabis
Various varieties of the industrial cannabis which was grown on trial basis at Chitedze Research Station in Lilongwe. VOA

Over the years, however, tobacco prices per kilogram have fallen, largely because of anti-tobacco campaigns and fewer people smoking. Tobacco farmers like Hartley Changamala say they feel they now have an alternative.

He says, “Some of us are growing tobacco because we don’t have an alternative crop to bring us income. But those who knew that tobacco farming has now become useless have stopped. So with legalization of the industrial cannabis, I feel I can benefit a lot as a farmer.” Anti-drug campaigners and religious conservatives continue to argue that legalizing cannabis will encourage recreational use of marijuana.

Nelson Zakeyu, an executive director for the NGO Drug Fight Malawi, says, “Why I am saying this is that there is very minimal difference in appearance between the two: Indian hemp [marijuana] and this industrial hemp. So that’s where the danger is, because many will be [taking] the Indian hemp as if they are taking the industrial hemp. So, we will end up having abnormal citizens in the country.”

Also Read- Xiaomi, Realme Cancel Product Launch Events in India Due To Coronavirus Concerns

Researchers say industrial hemp has a very low amount of the substance in marijuana which makes people high. Malawian President Peter Mutharika has until March 19 to sign the cannabis bill into law. The president has not indicated what he will do. (VOA)

STAY CONNECTED

18,990FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,786FollowersFollow

Most Popular

How to Move Safely Across Country During COVID-19

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a huge impact on everyday life for people across the United States. People have been advised to practise...

Ageing, Muscle Mass and Your Health

We've all battled with a lid that just won't budge. Maybe we tried banging it on the counter or holding it under hot water,...

Tips to Rejuvenate Your Home This Shravan

The fifth month of the Hindu calendar is called 'the holy month of Shravan', known to be a conduit for conveying natural and tremendous...

Here’s How Yoga Improves Reproductive and Sexual Health

Yoga is an ancient method of relaxation, exercise, and healing that has gained a wide following across the world. It rejuvenates the mind, body,...

Research on Link between Humans and Cats on Silk Road

In some news for cat lovers, new analyses done on an almost-complete cat skeleton found during an excavation along the former Silk Road in...

Application Rate per Job Increases by 48% Amid Covid-19 in India

Rate of applications per job has now increased by 48 per cent in India compared to average applications per job in the pre-Covid period,...

Spotify Signs Deal With Archie Comics to Produce Podcasts

Swedish audio streaming giant Spotify on Friday signed an exclusive deal with Archie Comics to produce podcast adaptations starring the comic book publisher's iconic...

3 in 4 Indians Prefer Watching Movies on OTT Platforms Amid Pandemic

Three in four Indians would prefer to watch a movie on various over-the-top (OTT) platforms in the social distancing times compared to just one...

Recent Comments