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Malawi ready to produce cannabis for industrial and medicinal use say country’s Cannabis Regulatory Authority

Malawi is ready to start commercial production and processing of cannabis for medicinal and industrial use, the southern African country’s new Cannabis Regulatory Authority said on Tuesday. Reports Reuters  who write

Malawi’s parliament passed a bill in February that makes it legal to cultivate and process cannabis for medicines and hemp fibre used in industry, but stops short of decriminalising recreational use.

An Act to make provision for regulation of research, cultivation, production, processing, possession, storage, exportation, importation, sale, distribution, and use of cannabis and its products for medicinal, industrial or scientific purposes under prescribed conditions and to provide for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto
Date of assent:  30 April 2020
Date of promulgation:  08 May 2020
Date of commencement:  08 May 2020
In force:  Yes

num_act_2020_6 of 2020

A growing number of countries around the world are either legalising or relaxing laws on cannabis as attitudes towards the drug change. They include several in southern Africa, including Zambia, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

The board chair of Malawi’s regulator, Boniface Kadzamira, said his board had received more than 100 applications for licensing which were under review.

The agriculture ministry on Friday announced the license fees, which will range from $100 to $10,000 a year for the cultivation, selling, storage, distribution of either class of industrial and medicinal hemp.

According to the minister’s gazette dated Nov. 20 and seen by Reuters, public hospitals will pay $100 and private hospitals $200 as licence fees to dispense cannabis medicines.

“We have received an overwhelming response in terms of applications for licences, but applicants must appreciate that we’ll not give everyone a licence at once,” said Kadzamira.

More at    https://www.reuters.com/article/malawi-cannabis/malawi-ready-to-produce-cannabis-for-industrial-and-medicinal-use-idUSL8N2IA4VV

Further Information

The Cannabis Regulatory Authority has justified the US$10,000 (about K7.6 million) licence fee for a cannabis cultivation licence.

Following the publication of a government notice on licence fees related to cultivation, distribution and sell of cannabis and industrial hemp, Malawians took to social media to protest against the fees saying indigenous Malawians will not afford to cultivate the crop.

But acting director general of the Cannabis Regulatory Authority Dr Ketimo Salipira has claimed that when coming up with the fees they considered that farmers would come together and form cooperatives.

He, however, assured the general public that the authority will look into the concerns.

Chairperson of the parliamentary Committee on Agriculture has since urged the authority to revise the fees in order to ensure that Malawians are involved in the cannabis industry.

According to the regulations, for every application made regarding Cannabis, a farmer will have to pay US$1,000 non-refundable and US$500 for industrial hemp.

People who want an application to process cannabis will party way with US$10,000 for a processing licence while for industrial hemp the fee is US$5,000.

A licence to store cannabis is pegged at US$500 while a licence to transport cannabis is at US$2,800.

For private hospitals, they will pay US$500 to administer cannabis as drug with government hospitals required to pay US$200 for the same purpose.

Source:  https://malawi24.com/2020/11/25/malawi-cannabis-authority-justifies-10000-licence-fee/

Officials at the Cannabis Regulatory Authority are expected to meet today over a public outcry against the gazzeted cannabis license fees.

Among other things, people and companies will be required to pay $10,000 (equivalent to K7 Million) when acquiring a license to cultivate and sell medicinal hemp.

Apart from that, a fee of $2,000 (Equivalent K1.5 million) is required when obtaining a license to grow and sell industrial hemp.

Speaking to MIJ FM Dr Ketimo Salipira, acting director general of the Cannabis Regulatory Authority- has defended the fees, saying the expectation of the authority is that farmers will operate in cooperatives.

Salipira, however said the authority will meet today to look into the concerns raised by the public.

Meanwhile, the parliamentary committee on Agriculture has asked government to review fees.

In an interview, Sameer Suleman, chairperson of the committee described the exorbitant fees as a deliberate move to bar Malawians- from benefiting from hemp farming.

Malawi’s new cannabis laws put dual emphasis on hemp cultivation and making CBD available to the local population. However, cannabis for recreational purposes remains strictly outlawed.  The new Cannabis Regulatory Authority (CRA) will be in charge.

Malawi heralded in a new era on 27 February 2020 when Agriculture Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa  presented  to parliament Bill No. 5 regarding cannabis regulation in Malawi. The bill gives the Malawi government the mandate to create a Cannabis Regulatory Authority (CRA). The CRA will be responsible for licensing legal cannabis cultivation, for supervising compliance with the regulations, and for the correct distribution of medical cannabis to patients, amongst other key points which include:

  • The creation of a Cannabis Regulatory Authority (CRA) responsible for licensing and regulating industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis programmes.
  • The CRA will grant licences to cultivate, process, store, sell, export, and distribute cannabis.
  • Exporting cannabis will require a licence.
  • The CRA will also grant permits to conduct scientific research programmes on cannabis.
  • Licencees will be required to comply with CRA’s security measures regarding cultivation, processing, storage, sale, exportation, and distribution of cannabis.
  • Cannabis will also be grown under strict production practices, among them non-involvement of children, preservation of the natural environment, and compliance with quality standards regarding soil, fertilisers, and pesticides used in the crops.
  • Qualified patients in the medicinal cannabis programme will be issued Registry Identification Cards.
  • The CRA will appoint inspectors to check compliance and enforcement of the Cannabis Regulation law.
  • The distribution of cannabis to patients will take place in the presence of Malawi’s inspectors and police officers.
  • Cultivating, processing, or distributing cannabis in contravention of the law will be an offence liable to financial sanctions and to imprisonment for up to 25 years.
  • Refusing to produce the documentation required to enter the medical cannabis programme or making false statements will be an offence liable to financial sanctions and imprisonment for up to five years.
  • Hemp cultivation is allowed with up to 1.0% THC. This means that it’s over the 0.2% allowed in cannabis applications by current EU standards, but follows in line with other countries that have more recently set their THC limit higher.


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