In May, the government of Zimbabwe announced a law that allows farmers to grow and sell cannabis for medical and research purposes. The country becomes only the second in Africa to permit medical marijuana, Lesotho being the first to do so in 2017.

The new policy would give researchers in Zimbabwe the ability to conduct their own clinical trials and investigate potential new therapies. And last month, the former minister of Health and Child Care, David Parirenyatwa, told a Zimbabwe Medical Association conference that the government plans to establish a research institute that will position the country as a hub for medicinal cannabis.

The announcements created some buzz in the country, that perhaps a lucrative biomedical marijuana enterprise could emerge in Zimbabwe. But high costs and uncertaintly about the government’s investment in cannabis science have tempered excitement.

“We need to domesticate our own research, and for us to do that, we need to conduct our own research, own data, and to conduct our own clinical trials, which will give us a competitive advantage in the cannabis business,”

says Zorodzai Maroveke, founder and CEO of the Zimbabwe Industrial Hemp Trust, a lobbying organization. “Presently, we have not done any clinical research research on cannabis.”

Maroveke says export and domestic use of cannabis are both being considered. But licenses to cultivate marijuana cost $50,000 USD, and she is concerned that few growers will participate.

Resourse: The Scientist