The Ministry of Health will be liable for issuing the license to the producers while a military wing, the Zambian National Service, will closely supervise the producers to ensure that they do not sell marijuana in the local market, according to the Government.
The Government of Zambia approved the cultivation of marijuana only for export and medicinal use as a measure to boost the economy but, as warned on Tuesday, the president of this country, Edgar Lungu, is still prohibited from cannabis use and possession.
Lungu explained to the media that, although the Executive has approved the export of this product considered illegal in most of the world, its consumption on Zambian soil and its possession will remain punishable by sentences of up to two years in prison.
The approval of cannabis exports was agreed at an extraordinary meeting of the government cabinet that took place on December 4. Still, the measure was made public late Monday in a statement signed by the government spokeswoman, Dora Siliya.
Siliya explained that the marijuana crop will be allowed only to producers with limited licenses, who will have to pay an annual fee of $ 250,000, and that their products will be strictly for export outside the country.
The Zambian president explained that the laws against drug trafficking, which carry prison sentences for cultivation or possession of marijuana, are still in force in the country, but that the Government has considered that allowing the restricted cultivation of cannabis for export purposes could lead to African nation significant income if done in a controlled manner.
The Ministry of Health will be responsible for issuing the license to the producers while a military wing, the Zambian National Service, will closely supervise the producers to ensure that they do not sell marijuana in the local market, according to the Government.
The news has been received cautiously by local groups of small farmers, who complain about the high annual rates that have been imposed for their cultivation, which will cause only foreign companies or large farmers to engage in this business.
However, large-scale farmers have received the measure with joy. They have asked the Government to go further and legalise in the country the use of marijuana to avoid fears of producers that their product ends up being consumed in Zambia, and they are accused of crimes.
Only four countries in the world have the recreational use and marketing of legalised cannabis, under different conditions, and only 38, most of them American and non-European, allow it for medicinal use.