Lesotho: Kingdom Becomes First African Country to Legalize Cannabis
By Michael Bachara
Lesotho, a country of two-million people surrounded by South Africa, is perfectly situated to produce large volumes of high quality, low cost cannabis due to its expertise in high altitude cultivation.
For many years, Lesotho’s farmers have been growing cannabis for consumption at home and exporting their harvest across the border in South Africa. Similarly, in Swaziland, growing cannabis and exporting the herb to South Africa has provided for many families, despite the plant being outlawed.
Cannabis is not yet fully legal in South Africa, so citizens cannot legally cultivate, sell or smoke, and how the court ruling applies is still somewhat obscure, but it seems, globally, cannabis culture is becoming more tolerated.
Last month, Lesotho’s Ministry of Health has authorized Verve Dynamics, a South African company that manufactures herbal medicines and skincare products, to grow, process, and sell cannabis for medicinal purposes.
“Verve Dynamics is honored to be the first company in Africa to have been granted regulatory approval to begin the process of growing and producing high quality cannabis extracts commercially,” Verve Dynamics said in a statement.
“Lesotho is one of the most economically advantageous countries in the world to produce large volumes of high quality, low cost cannabis and hemp due to its expertise in high altitude cultivation, a knowledgeable and skilled labor force, and supportive forward-looking government,” the company added.
There is a global precedent for legalizing the herb under state regulation. The legal cannabis market in the United States generated $6.7 billion and has become one of the fastest growing industries since 29 states legalized medicinal cannabis. In Africa, selling cannabis could be a boon to the economy.
According to Quartz Africa, a publication in Africa, a number of other African countries, especially in the South African region, are considering making the production and use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes legal.
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