HEALTH and Child Care minister Dr David Parirenyatwa says government will not reverse the licensing of Marijuna farming despite calls by players in the medical sector to have the decision revoked.
By Michael Gwarisa
Speaking through the state broadcaster ZBC TV, minister Parienyatwa said Marijuana would only be grown in Zimbabwe for medicinal purposes, scientific and industrial purposes and government would closely watch licensed growers to ensure they abide by the stipulated regulations.
“The growing of Cannabis will be done in a legal and well regulated environment. There are three divisions of Cannabis, the first one is the recreational use which is completely illegal in this country. The second one is medicinal use and the third one is industrial use.
“By recreational, we mean the smoking of Cannabis to get high, which is illegal in this country. Our thrust and desired focus is for the Medicinal, Industrial and scientific use but under licensing. Possession of cannabis other than medicinal and scientific purposes is therefore still illegal in Zimbabwe, licensing is thus imperative for medical and industrial use,” said minister Parirenyatwa.
He added that Cannabis, the plant and the products are controlled under the Dangerous Drug Act Chapter 15 (2) and the Criminal Codification Act Chapter 9:23 and it is treated as a prohibited drug for recreational purposes.
“The two acts regulate the importation, exportation and production, possession, distribution and the use of dangerous drugs and matters that are incidental thereto.
“While the dangerous drugs as provided broadly for the licensing by the minister of health and child care, it did not provide the detailed framework. The development and gazetting of the dangerous drugs Act production of cannabis for medicinal and scientific use regulations of 2018, through a Statutory Instrument 62(SI 62) of 2018 describes in full the requirements needed for one to be licensed and describes the conditions that have to be fulfilled to grow to process to export cannabis and its products.”
The SI 67 also sets out the appropriate fees that are applicable to the various licensing processes under the first schedule of the SI 62 of 2018.
Minister Parirenyatwa added that government would be strict and regulation will be stiff for growers as according to the SI 62 requirements. Those wishing to grow the drug however need to pump out $50 000 to get a licence.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Medicines Authority (ZIMA) has appealed to government to reconsider the move which they believe will lead to an uncontrolled abuse of Cannabis in the country, leading to an even worse drug abuse burden for the already struggling psychiatric health sector.
Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) Executive Director, Itai Rusike has castigated the move saying government did not consult before making such a decision and expressed fear over the social destruction that is likely to occur in the long-term.