Zimbabwe allows hemp use in medicines for first time

Seeking to boost income from cannabis as it gradually shifts away from tobacco, the main cash-crop.
Image: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Zimbabwe is allowing hemp-based products to be sold for the first time as part of complementary medicines given to patients.

The Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe has invited all licensed cannabis and hemp producers, manufacturers, importers, exporters and retail pharmacists to apply for approval to sell the products.

The regulator requested those interested to provide product samples and also allow its officials to inspect production sites. “Unlicensed sellers of cannabis will be prosecuted for selling unapproved” medicines, it said in a letter, dated July 18.

The southern African nation is seeking to boost income from cannabis as it gradually shifts away from tobacco, the main cash-crop. The approval will help spur an industry that the country’s Treasury estimates has the potential to reach $1.25 billion a year.

Cannabis for medicinal purposes has “immense potential” to generate export receipts and tax revenues, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has said.

Medicinal cannabis is mostly used to manage pain as an alternative to regular pharmaceutical drugs. Medical research shows that it has the ability to reduce physical pain and can also be effective in helping ease neurological distress.

The regulator said Tuesday it had already started receiving applications for approval of hemp-based products from its stakeholders.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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