The government of Zimbabwe has announced that all local and foreign investors who have invested in the production of cannabis, also known as ‘mbanje’, would be offered full ownership of the farmland and licenses to improve competitiveness.
Prior to the announcement by the Health Ministry, the Zimbabwean government had approved the production of cannabis for medicinal purposes in 2018.
Last year, the government revealed that 37 local and private investors had shown interest in cannabis farming.
However, in a letter addressed to cannabis licensees by Health Minister Obadiah Moyo, the 100 percent ownership is with immediate effect.
“Following Cabinet decision and high-level meeting, a policy change allowing investors to hold 100% ownership of Medicinal Cannabis licenses were enacted in order to enhance the competitiveness of the sector both regionally and globally,” Moyo said.
More so, the Health Minister said that the cabinet agreed that investors had the option to utilize private land for cannabis project.
“In a bid to regularize the policy changes, a draft Investment Stabilization agreement is being analyzed by the Attorney General’s office. The finalization has been put on hold due to the focus on controlling the global Covid-19 pandemic.”
Alternative Health Oils (AHO) – an organization that is a partnership between the government and a private firm – has seen the State ceding its 40% to the former.
Government directors who are members of the AHO board have also been told to resign with immediate effect, leaving the private firm in absolute control of the entity.
“Having stated the need for pragmatism in this matter, Alternative Health Oils (AHO) – a government company which is being administratively controlled by the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) – will initiate the termination of Joint Venture Agreements, ceding 40% ownership and the resignation of AHO directors from the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) effective immediately.”
Moyo further said that on completion of the processes, amendment of the license would be required. “An Investor for cannabis farming will be issued with a five-year renewal license.”
At a point, production and possession of the drug were illegal and attracted a penalty – a jail term of up to 12 years. Nevertheless, the recreational use or possession of the drug remains illegal in the country.