The board chair of Malawi’s regulator, Boniface Kadzamira said that hemp, which contains little or no THC (the substance that makes people high), had the potential to overtake earnings from tobacco, which is Malawi’s main export crop. According to Reuters, earnings from tobacco have been falling quite rapidly over the years due to bad weather and sinking demand. In 2020, Malawi’s tobacco output fell by 31.3 per cent leading to a 26.4 per cent decline in overall tobacco revenues, reports Reuters.
“Our view as regulator is that if we get honest investors, the hemp industry can supplement export revenues from tobacco, and in some cases, surpass it. But it will not immediately replace tobacco,”said Kadzamira.
License fees for the cultivation, selling, storage and distribution of industrial and medicinal hemp will start from USD 100 and go up as high as USD 10,000 as announced by the agriculture ministry.
Public hospitals will pay a licence fee of USD 100 and private hospitals a fee of USD 200 to dispense medicinal cannabis.
“We have received an overwhelming response in terms of applications for licences, but applicants must appreciate that we’ll not give everyone a licence at once,” said Kadzamira.