Zimbabweans can now apply for licences to grow cannabis for medical and research purposes, the government has said in a legal notice, making the southern African nation the second country in Africa to legalize cultivation of the plant.
Lesotho last year announced the continent’s first license to grow cannabis legally.
Until now, it has been illegal to grow, possess or use cannabis in Zimbabwe, with offenders facing up to 12 years in jail.
Health Minister David Parirenyatwa published new regulations, seen by Reuters on Saturday, allowing individuals and companies to be licensed to cultivate marijuana, known locally as mbanje.
The five-year renewable licences will allow growers to possess, transport and sell fresh and dried cannabis as well as cannabis oil.
Applications should include plans of the growing site, quantity to be produced and sold and the production period.
A license can be refused when information has been received from a “peace officer, a competent authority or the United Nations” that an applicant was involved in the diversion of a controlled substance or precursor to an illicit market or use”, the regulations said.
“The Minister may not oblige if the issuance, renewal or amendment of the license is likely to create a risk to public health, safety or security.”
“An application for the issue of a licence in terms of section 27 of the Act shall be made to the Minister, in duplicate and shall be accompanied by the appropriate fee and three copies of a plan of the site proposed to be licensed which shall comply with the requirement specified in these regulations.
“In case of an individual, proof of citizenship or proof of being ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe or proof of an exemption by the Minister (will be required),” reads the regulations.
“In the case of a company, proof of citizenship or proof of being ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe of the majority of directors or proof of an exemption by the Minister and proof of incorporation in Zimbabwe of the company; and a declaration, signed and dated by the proposed authorised person in charge, stating that the authorised person in charge, the proposed responsible person in charge and, if applicable, the proposed alternate responsible person in charge, are familiar with the provisions of the Act (will be required),” reads the regulations.