Traditionally treated as a taboo plant in most African countries, marijuana is slowly being embraced across the continent, as scientists and researchers explore new medical therapies for emerging diseases.
The burgeoning, multibillion dollar marijuana market is driven by unprecedented global demand, and now sees countries in Africa decriminalise and legalise the cultivation and export of the plant. Studies show that over 10,000 tonnes of cannabis are produced in the continent every year.
African farmers have been growing cannabis for centuries, but, until now, its consumption has been banned across the continent. The policy change has been largely informed by medicinal and economic reasons.
DIVERSIFYING REVENUE THROUGH CANNABIS TRADE
As African countries rely on revenue from export of key cash crops, such as coffee, maize, cocoa, tea and cotton, the price fluctuations and uncertainty in the global markets have provided unreliable income streams.
Countries have been keen on venturing into other sources of income, and with the pent-up demand for Marijuana in Europe and the Americas, Africa has softened its hard stance on the cannabis industry. African Governments that have warmed up to cannabis trade argue that legalizing marijuana would generate a great source of revenue through taxation, lead to economic growth and help create jobs. [Read more at FairPlanet]