Committee endorses Cannabis Act review

The Agriculture and Irrigation Committee of Parliament has recommended the review of Cannabis Act amid cries from Malawians that they will not participate in the industrial hemp farming.

According to the Committee`s Chairperson Sammer Suleman, Malawians have been duped and that there is urgent need to stop the whole process.

“Indeed, this cannabis, is not what we thought it was, let`s not Malawians that this cannabis is for us because it’s not.

“We have sold ourselves once again, I think in better explanation, this thing should be stopped immediately, let technicians rework I think government rushed in trying to get this thing moving,” said Suleman.

Suleman added that the country needs to reconsider its own local hemp other than importing seeds which he says it is too expensive.

“We need to go back to the drawing board, mind the cannabis we are growing is not our cannabis, it is as good as going to Canada and the Canadians will give us seeds of pumpkins and we plant here.

“What I thought should happen in the first place, we know that our chamba is actually called Malawi Gold out there, it`s an expensive brand on its own, its got high content of nicotine levels yet were are buying seeds from other countries which is unfortunate and uncalled for,” said Suleman.

But contrary to the committee`s fears and recommendations, Chairperson of the Cannabis Regulatory Authority (CRA) Boniface Kadzamira holds the view that local farmers should participate in the farming through well managed cooperatives.

“I want to encourage Malawians they must not be disheartened; this industry is not only there for the rich, this is why when they were enacting the law in parliament, they put within the provision that CRA must empower local Malawians through cooperatives.

“If the local farmers are in a well-managed cooperative, it’s easy for them to manage and we want to implore government to make sure that such well-managed cooperatives are helped financially then it will be easy for our local farmers to participate in the farming,” said Kadzamira.

CRA has issued 92 licenses to 36 companies. In the 2021/2022 proposed budget estimates, the Authority has been allocated K200 million out of the budgeted K1.9 billion.

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