An estimated 38.2 million African adults use marijuana each year. Ghana is currently the third largest consumer of marijuana in the world. And its market in Africa could potentially generate $79.8 billion a year and Africa is already one of the world's largest producers of marijuana and cannabis.
That makes a case for its legalization, at least for medical and scientific purposes. And it seems like Lesotho agrees – the Lesotho Ministry of Health has just granted medical company Verve Dynamics a license to cultivate, process and sell marijuana for medical and scientific purposes in the country.
Verve Dynamics officially kicked off the project in July 2017 growing only high cannabidiol (CBD) containing sativa strains, but the new license allows them to explore other varieties once they’ve established themselves within the market.
Lesotho has always been a big producer of marijuana – in 2015, it was ranked as the country's most significant cash crop with farmers choosing to cultivate marijuana over traditional crops because it commanded a far higher market price on the black market both at home and abroad.
"Access to medicinal cannabis on the African continent has taken another major step forward today and 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."
Lesotho government’s decision to move forward with this historic decision means the country will play a significant role in developing this industry, both locally and internationally.
In addition, Lesotho is one of the most economically advantageous countries in the world to produce large volumes of high quality, low-cost marijuana due to its expertise in high altitude cultivation, a knowledgeable and skilled labor force, and supportive forward-looking Government.
Here's hoping other African governments follow in Lesotho's footsteps because its contribution to the GDP is not to be dismissed. Legalize it, tax it, regulate it and grow the economy.