It seems as though the African continent is joining the cannabis game, and the Minister of Agriculture, Lobin Lowe, is encouraging domestic cannabis cultivators to band together and increase their pricing and leverage.
Lowe hopes to include cannabis in Malawi’s agriculture export methods to help establish domestic development. The minister’s recent thoughts were sparked during a training workshop for farmers.
He hopes to help establish regulated products eligible for export to markets requiring certifications, such as the European medical market. That said, uncertified cultivations will remain illegal. To date, the Malawi government has issued 72 licenses to both local and international companies.
In addition, the government is also thinking about issuing a special kind of license to local farmers to give Malawians the opportunity to benefit from a crop that was grown locally. The conversation between cannabis for export and cannabis grown domestically has been increasing over the last few years.
Specifically in Thailand, for example, medical crops for domestic use are produced by farmers that don’t adhere to Europe’s GMP standards, but the country delivers their cannabis directly to local hospitals. Domestic use may become more prevalent in countries where capital is limited, like developing nations. Still, there are other issues at hand, like the conversation of recreational reform.
However, the notion that cannabis could be used as an export crop or for domestic use is quickly gaining traction, especially as the international conversations around cannabis continue to become normalized.
Another conversation that’s on the upswing is democratic access to cannabis, which isn’t a drug of the 1%, even when patients are forced to grow their own cannabis illegally. This is more common in places like Africa that have been growing cannabis for quite some time under the illicit umbrella.
That said, and Africa aside, we should expect to see more international cannabis cultivation throughout the next few years, legal or not. But, we should also expect to see more regulations like the pharma standards of the GMP, which will only get tighter throughout Europe.
Interestingly, South Africa considers cannabis a “drug of last resort,” and the only opportunity for companies to distribute the plant medically is to have their drug licensed in Europe.
However, the conversation around Africa’s cultivation and export is bringing a whole new discussion about cannabinoids and how they should be categorized. Countries like Malawi are well on their way to creating a domestic foundation to support both new cannabis discussions and how they should be classified.