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Zimbabwe lifted its strict jail penalties on cannabis in the early days of May 2018. Does this mean that the country is near to making a decision on cannabis legalization? Let's look at the country much closer. As it stands, Zimbabwe does not have a functioning currency and has always had a harsh stance on any drug possession. However, this country has become the second African country to introduce cannabis legalization to its residents. However, this only covers industrial processing and marijuana cultivation. As a result, though, this new action has triggered an indescribable interest from Canadian and European interest.
The Cannabis Cultivation
The use of cannabis is banned on the African continent, even though Africa has become one of the countries to produce marijuana in the world. Right now, the country is only focused on marijuana cultivation. Land is being surrendered to companies from countries like Holland. This is done through business deals that are so secretive that some marijuana activists fear that this might result in the government uprooting communities just to free up land for cannabis cultivation so as to allow the country to seize on the opportunity for foreign cash. Is that what cannabis legalization would do to the residents? Is the inconvenience worth it?
Companies from Canada are not wasting time either as they are coming in to stake their claim. In fact, there are Canadian companies going in to secure prime land, fencing it off from the general population in Guruve, which is a central district that has many small poor farmers already scrapped to make a living from the rich soil needed to grow their tobacco. This particular location is a prime location to plant marijuana because of its amazing temperatures and reduced humidity. The rainy season carries the right temperature to make cannabis cultivation favorable.
The Future Plans
What are the future plans for this category of cannabis legalization in Zimbabwe? The companies that have come in from other countries and with government approval are planning to make marijuana juice for managing certain medical conditions like epilepsy. They also are going to manufacture vehicle dashboards ecologically. The international trade ministry has announced recently that a company from Holland has sought out government approval of setting up a factory in Zimbabwe to process marijuana for medical reasons. This would result in tax revenue of US$7 million. This is important because the country has endured years of economic mayhem and any large cash is a commodity for any country, let alone Zimbabwe. With a scenario like this, no wonder the government is all about cannabis legalization, even though, it starts with only cannabis cultivation.
There is one caveat or exclusion. The health minister in Zimbabwe, Mr. David Parirenyatwa indicated that if any local residents wanted to indulge in cannabis cultivation, processing or exportation, they had to pay US50, 000 to get a license. What? Is this what cannabis legalization to do to the people that live in Zimbabwe? Do you think this is fair? And on top of that local residents who do not follow this rule would end up in jail. But, the outside foreigners with their thousands and millions of dollars are considered as prototypes. How is the small farmer going to compete with all of this?
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Yes, on paper, cannabis legalization in Zimbabwe excludes the poorer class of people, small farmers and women. There is also a possibility for the government to seize the lands of these same people. It is difficult for any resident to raise that kind of money for a marijuana license when the average salary is only US$200 per year. And in addition, Zimbabwe is already known for this history of land seizures. Let's watch and see what happens in the next year.
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