Drug Fight Malawi has condemned government for its approval of industrial hemp trial saying this is encouraging the use of the substance among the country’s young people.
Drug Fight Malawi Executive Director, Nelson Zakeyu said government’s approval of the trial created room for young people to smoke marijuana.
“It is unfortunate that people now can smoke marijuana in public places despite the presence of police,” said Zakeyu after sensitizations campaigns in Mchinji.
The Malawi Government approved the industrial hemp trial to find out if the substance can be used for other purposes.
A local private company, Invegrow, began the trials at Chitedze Research Station in November 2015.
The approval of hemp ignited debate in Malawi because of the crop’s close relationship with marijuana.
Industrial hemp refers to, “the non-psychoactive (less than 1% THC) varieties of Cannabis Sativa L.
Both hemp and marijuana come from the same cannabis species, but are genetically distinct and are further distinguished by use, chemical makeup, and cultivation methods”.
Industrial hemp has various uses, which include the manufacturing of paper, clothing, fibre, medicine and food products, amongst others.
There are expectations that if the trials are successful, industrial hemp will be another source of foreign exchange earnings and support the country’s National Export Strategy.