LEGISLATORS yesterday lobbied the government to reduce the $50 000 licence fee charged on farmers, who want to take up the production of cannabis on a commercial scale.
The MPs claimed the fees were prohibitive and shut out poor communities in dagga-growing areas like Binga that were already producing the drug, though illegally.
In response, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said: “We have the Dangerous Drugs Act and in that law, cannabis was chosen as one of the prohibited drugs, but its use is for recreational, medicinal and industrial purposes.
“All types were barred, but there is cannabis which is used in industries for making suits, and there is a pilot project for us to farm industrial cannabis, which is going to assist the nation, but recreational cannabis is not allowed.”
Binga North MP Prince Dubeko Sibanda queried why the licence fee was prohibitive when it is traditionally grown in areas like Binga.
Uzumba MP Simbaneuta Mudarikwa said: “… if people are growing tobacco and are not paying any licence fees, then people should not pay $50 000 for producing cannabis because it will be exported for foreign currency.”
Ziyambi said the fee was prescribed by the Health and Child Care ministry.