By Spy Uganda
The Republic of Rwanda has recently begun the production of medical cannabis a few months after it joined other African nations in decriminalizing the cultivation of the substance.
According to local reports, local authorities have set aside more than 130 hectares for cannabis production amid immense interest from investors for the exportation of medical marijuana and other products.
Rwanda is in the eastern part of Africa, bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Burundi, and Uganda. Although the nation is relatively small compared to its neighbors, it boasts an excellent mountainous terrain that favors the mass cultivation of various plants, including marijuana.
Last year, Rwandese lawmakers decriminalized the cultivation, processing, and export of medical marijuana products. The officials acknowledged the excellent returns that a legal cannabis market could bring to the nation and sought to find the best ways to capitalize on the opportunity.
Marijuana is one of the most profitable crops from the absolute value perspective. Many states and jurisdictions have reaped the rewards of legalizing cannabis for medical and even recreational purposes. Therefore, legalizing medical marijuana in Rwanda could be an excellent way to increase revenue for the country.
Although cannabis is among the crops with the highest therapeutic value, it remains illegal in many parts of the world. For this reason, legalizing the substance in Rwanda presents a unique opportunity that has stirred mixed emotions.
However, the guidelines of the new ordinance were quick to point out that cannabis will only be legal for medical purposes. Doctor Daniel Ngamije, Rwanda’s Minister of Health, explained that the law does not have room for drug abusers. He continued to clarify that regulations will punish people who abuse the substance.
What’s more, the cannabis cultivated and produced in Rwanda will only be for export purposes. Therefore, lawmakers will also introduce a special export tax for cannabis products to ensure they make the most out of the market.
Now that cultivation of medical cannabis in Rwanda is legal; authorities have begun setting up production operations to prepare for the newfound market. For instance, the country has dedicated 134 hectares of land to cannabis production.
The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) also disclosed that numerous companies had expressed interest in cultivating, processing, and exporting medical marijuana products. Apart from exhibiting the industry’s potential in Rwanda, this also means that stakeholders don’t have to worry about a supply deficit.
However, not every company interested in the marijuana industry will get a taste of the pie. Lawmakers have set a rigorous process to assess the companies looking to partner with marijuana cultivation firms.
So far, only five companies have moved to the advanced stage, and authorities are yet to issue any licenses. This indicates that the African nation will follow a trend that’s common with other countries that have legalized cannabis. Essentially, there may be a cap on the number of organizations that can produce cannabis in Rwanda.
Rwanda follows the brave footsteps of other African nations like Lesotho, Zambia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Morocco, and South Africa. However, unlike the other countries, Uganda and Rwanda cultivate cannabis for the sole purpose of exportation. For this reason, there’s still no room for cannabis accessories and other dispensary supplies in these two markets.
While Rwanda may not have the infrastructure or financial ability like other powerful countries such as South Africa, it is still determined to make a difference in the industry. Since only a few nations in Africa have decriminalized medical cannabis, this proves that Rwanda has taken a significant step.