Congratualtions South Africa!
On 18th September 2018 South Africa’s Constitutional Court ruled that citizens have the right to consume and grow marijuana in their homes, as long it was for personal consumption. The country’s highest court found that South Africa’s laws on drugs and medicine went against the constitution’s right to privacy and the personal use of “dagga” as it’s known in South Africa. Congratulations South Africans, now you finally get to celebrate the decriminalization of cannabis and marijuana. What’s even better news is now the country’s neighbors can use this as a potential to capitalize on the growing cannabis industry around Southern Africa.
Last year, Lesotho became the first African country to grant licenses for the medicinal cultivation of cannabis. Lesotho is the southernmost landlocked country in the world. It is entirely surrounded by South Africa.
Lesotho’s cannabis farms exist primarily to supply its much larger neighbor. Marijuana is the third largest source of hard currency in the country, according to a report by Unesco. A later study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime also found that 70% of the marijuana entering South Africa comes from Lesotho.
eSwatini (formerly Swaziland), is also considering legalizing cannabis. Many families in impoverished eSwatini have turned to growing marijuana and exporting it to South Africa and Mozambique. Cannabis cultivation can potentially triple Swaziland’s GDP, with an estimated annual income of $1.26 billion—26 times higher than sugar exports.
Zimbabwe has also attempted to legalize cannabis in May of this year. Unfortunately, they had to roll back the decision after outcry from conservative groups in the country.
Malawi started experimenting with growing hemp two years ago already. Chamba (the local name for pot) is still illegal. However the success of experimenting with hemp is seen by some as the country’s move to legalizing marijuana cultivation for the sake of the economy.