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Could Africa Be The Next Big Cannabis Market?

By Ayanna Rutherford
May 28, 2018

Canada is leading the way in the cannabis industry.  With marijuana legalization happening being voted on this summer, Canada is embracing the business of pot.  As the industry grows, however, international markets are expanding across the Atlantic to the continent of Africa.

The Globe and Mail report that Supreme Cannabis Co. (TSX-V:FIRE) “has invested $10 million in a Lesotho company, with the aim of exporting high-quality cannabis oil to Canada and other markets.”  Other Canadian companies are also eyeing Africa as a cannabis partner. The same article reports that “Canadian investors are scouting for 10,000 hectares of land for marijuana farming in the Mashonaland region” of Zimbabwe.

Lesotho Issues First Manufacturing License

Lesotho became the first country on the continent to issue a medical marijuana license to Verve Dynamics. The South African based company specializes in botanical extracts.  Lesotho is an attractive country for companies like Verve because of the black-market cannabis industry that already exists. According to Quartz Africa, “Lesotho’s farmers have already been growing weed for the consumption at home and across the border in South Africa.”  In fact, the black market has helped many of the poor farmers there generate income.

Like other countries entering the cannabis industry, Lesotho is eyeing the possible financial windfall that could accompany the crop —something which is sorely needed in a country with a high poverty rate.  Other African nations are contemplating legalization as well. According to Quartz Africa Malawi is taking the same approach to cannabis as Lesotho.  They too have a thriving black market and view legalization as a path for the country to generate additional revenue.

South Africa Opens Africa’s First Dispensary

One African nation has gone one step further with the marijuana industry.  Earlier this month, South Africa opened its first dispensary. Canna Culture is a Durban-based dispensary that features Dr. Kyle Deutsch, musician, and former Idol SA contestant, as the in-house chiropractor.

The dispensary, which features medical cannabis products from the United States was developed to ensure that South Africans were getting high-quality weed to treat their ailments instead of black market products that were not regulated. Founder, Krithi Thaver, told Time Live "[w]hat I realised in the last year‚ there are so many people becoming kitchen pharmacists where they are going online‚ checking a formula on how to make cannabis oil and making money off it without actually curing a patient.”

While the company is focused on the medical side of the industry, they are also preparing for full legalization when the time comes.    

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