Rwanda has approved the cultivation and export of cannabis. The east Africa tiny nation seeks to grow its export earnings from the global cannabis market valued at the $345 billion according to analysts New Frontier Data.
Rwanda’s Minister of Health Dr Daniel Ngamije said that despite the government’s intention to profit from the production and export of marijuana, its use in the country is prohibited.
“This will not give an excuse for drug abusers and dealers. The law against narcotics is available and it will continue to be enforced,” Dr Ngamije said on state-run television Rwanda Broadcasting Agency on Tuesday.
A Cabinet meeting, chaired by President Paul Kagame at Urugwiro village, on Monday approved regulatory guidelines on cultivation, processing, and export of “high-value therapeutic crops”.
Last year, Rwada Development Board had invited companies to bid for the development of medical cannabis in Rwanda with a focus on the export market.
The production or sale of cannabis is prohibited in Rwanda. Doctors are banned from prescribing it as medicine, and doing so could land them in jail for two years and a fine of about Rwf3 million (about $3000), under Article 266 of the Penal Code.
the Use of the narcotics attracts a jail term of two years, while drug dealers face between 20 years to life in prison, and a fine of up to $30,000.
In East Africa, Tanzanians consume more cannabis than any of their peers, with up to 3.6 million Tanzanians using the drug in 2018, according to New Frontier Data, a research firm based in the UK.
Kenya follows closely with 3.3 million cannabis users while Uganda has 2.6 million consumers, the report says.
In 2018, Africa recorded $37 million worth of cannabis consumption, which represents a small fraction of the $345 billion global market for cannabis, according to New Frontier Data.