Last May, Lesotho began issuing the first cannabis cultivation licenses
Cannabis has been very important in tribal life in Lesotho for many centuries. It was first brought by Portuguese and Arab merchants between the 10th and 15th centuries.
In 2017, the Kingdom of Lesotho was the first African nation to legalize the cultivation and export of medical cannabis. With international companies seeking low-cost production facilities and the government that sets the right conditions, Lesotho wants to become a leader in medical cannabis in Africa to help boost local employment and international investment.
Lesotho is a constitutional monarchy. The country is located at high altitude and is completely surrounded by South Africa. Lesotho has a population of 2 million and has become a battlefield of enormous importance for Canadian companies that are spreading their tentacles throughout the world.
Government officials have said they are holding advanced negotiations with various North American and European companies seeking to enter the Lesotho medical cannabis market. With companies such as Aphria, Supreme Cannabis and Canopy Growth already operating in the country, the government has experience in negotiating with international companies.
The African Cannabis Report states that the legal cannabis market in Africa could exceed 7.1 billion dollars in 2023 if the most important markets in developed countries legalize medicinal and recreational cannabis. Lesotho will have a key role in the service and supply of the African market. The country legalized medical cannabis in December 2017, which allowed many farmers who previously cultivated to supply the black market to become legal.
The Lesotho government believes that the legal cannabis industry may be the solution to the degradation of the traditional agricultural industry and wants to attract international investment in both cultivation and processing.
After the first licenses were granted in 2018, several international companies hurried to get the right to cultivate through a series of acquisitions.
Now the second wave of licensing approvals is approaching and Lesotho could experience unprecedented commercial activity and consolidate its position as a leader in the medical marijuana sector in the African continent.
The government has introduced changes in license fees to solve the problem of people who get licenses to speculate with them without even having facilities for cultivation. Companies are paying around $ 37,000 for licenses. This figure represents a hard limit for national companies and an advantage for large international companies, but has ensured that those who are granted licenses intend to cultivate and not speculate.
Lesotho Prime Minister Dr. Motsoahae Thomas Thabane has said the government will grant more cultivation and export licenses this year, given the new jobs that the cannabis industry has created in the country.
Lesotho wants to become the best medicinal cannabis grower in the world, according to a government spokesman, who says he is proud to become the first African nation to legally produce cannabis and improve the lives and health of people in his country.
The cultivation of cannabis in Lesotho is very promising and almost 70 percent of cannabis in South Africa is grown in fields located at a perfect altitude of the kingdom of Lesotho.
The high altitude and especially fertile soils allow growers to obtain a high-quality marijuana crop and labor is also very cheap. The black market has thrived there for years, but the government is in favor of cannabis now and the leading companies fight to grow medical cannabis in Lesotho.
According to the World Health Organization, this African country has the highest rate of tuberculosis in the world. It also has the highest crime and unemployment rates and one of the lowest life expectancy rates. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) considers Lesotho as one of the least developed countries in the world. Six out of ten people live below the national poverty line.
The country has so many socio-economic problems and is so small that any project has a good chance of ending in failure. But a second delivery of cannabis cultivation licenses would bring more international investment and the truth is that the government is proving to have a vision for the future. Medical marijuana could be the big boost to the economy that the country needs.