Zimbabwe has legalised production of cannabis for medicinal or scientific use, according to new regulations seen by AFP Saturday.
A statutory instrument entitled Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Scientific Use Regulations, said prospective producers can apply to the health ministry for a licence to grow cannabis but under strict conditions.
“An application shall be accompanied by the appropriate fee and three copies of a plan of the site proposed to be licensed,” read part of the regulations.
Individual producers must be citizens of the country or have proof that they are resident while companies must produce proof of incorporation in Zimbabwe, the regulations said. The producers will submit to routine audits by the health ministry
One responsible person in charge to work at the licensed producer’s site and have responsibility for supervising the activities with respect to cannabis conducted by the licensed producer under their licence at that site and for ensuring that the activities comply with the Act and these regulations who may, if appropriate, be the authorised person in charge,” further reads the regulations.
The licensed producer may also designate one or more alternate responsible persons in charge to work at the licensed producer’s site and have authority to replace the responsible person in charge when that person is absent.
The Minister shall refuse to issue, renew or amend a producer’s licence when certain requirements have not been met, among them failure by the producer to grant permission for inspection by relevant authorities; and when the Minister has reasonable grounds to believe that false or misleading information was submitted in, or false or falsified documents were submitted with the application.
Issuance of a licence would also be denied when information has been received from a peace officer, a competent authority or the United Nations that the applicant has been involved in the diversion of a controlled substance or precursor to an illicit market or use.
The Minister may not oblige if the issuance, renewal or amendment of the licence is likely to create a risk to public health, safety or security, including the risk of cannabis being diverted to an illicit market use.
The producer licence will be valid for five years and may be renewed thereafter before its expiry.
Over the years the production and use of marijuana has been illegal in the country and possession of the drug attracted sentences of up to 12 years in jail.