Zimbabwe Finance minister Mthuli Ncube has supported calls for Zimbabwe to grow cannabis for export purposes. This, he says, is to take advantage of the growing global legal marijuana market. This comes just months after legal marijuana has started gaining traction worldwide due to very high demand among consumers. This is coupled with increasing legalization of recreational or medical marijuana in various countries.
Zimbabwe has, for a while now, been struggling with serious foreign currency shortages which have lately manifested in acute fuel shortages. As such, Minister Ncube believes that the move would be a great opportunity. He also added that the government should move faster in giving licenses.
Recently, Canada legalized cannabis. The move has since led many other countries around the world to consider either recreational or medical legalization. Argentina and Australia are amongst some of the recent countries to legalize medical cannabis, while European nations like the Netherlands and Italy are beginning to explore their options within the medical market.
A Canadian firm has since approached the Harare government with a proposal to produce the cannabis in the planned economic zones in a development that could earn the country about US $100m annually.
Early last year, Zimbabwe became the second African country after Lesotho to legalize marijuana for medical and scientific purposes. Then health minister David Parirenyatwa explained individuals and businesses would be able to apply for licenses to cultivate cannabis for both medicinal and scientific use.
However, the plans were shelved later in the year with the government citing the need to first carry out feasibility studies. The global legal marijuana market is expected to reach US $146.4Bn by end of 2025. That is according to a recent report by Grand View Research.