20 September 2017
By CHUKWUDERA EZE
Ghana has put itself on the path to licensing marijuana cultivation. If it eventually does, it will become one of the few countries doing so in the world.
In a report by Daily Sun, the acting head of the Ghana Standards Authority, Professor Alex Dodoo, is calling for a debate on the cultivation of marijuana, saying other countries are cultivating it for medical purpose.
“I’m not advocating that we should promote marijuana but several countries are now promoting medical marijuana including Canada… they are now creating greenhouses to grow it and we have them in the bush but currently, it’s illegal. But that argument; that discussion should start.”
According to him, Ghana must view marijuana as a source of national revenue rather than petty crime marks.
It is unclear how many ordinary people could benefit when cultivation is made legal.
He explains that the legalisation could become a model for the rest of the continent to tap into the lucrative global marijuana industry.
The challenge, however, would be to regulate the industry, an area where few African countries excel.
“If we have the best products, why don’t we produce it at least for exports to the market in America, the market in Uruguay, the market in Canada and in several other countries where they need it for medical purposes? Germany uses a lot of herbal medicines which are evaluated according to what Germany feels provides a fair balance between promoting the product and protecting the public and we should do that in Ghana,” he added.
An African country like Lesotho has its farmers growing weed for domestic consumption and sometimes across the border in South Africa. Small-scale farmers in Lesotho grow marijuana among their maize crops to export to South Africa.
Swaziland and Malawi have also figured out that it would be more lucrative to legalise marijuana.
Zimbabwe is also looking into legalising cannabis after a Canadian firm approached the Zimbabwean government for a license to produce marijuana. There is a global precedent for legalising the herb under state regulation. The legal weed market in the United States, for example, generated $6.7 billion and has become one of the fastest growing industries since 29 states legalised medicinal marijuana. In Africa, selling marijuana could be a windfall.