An industrial hemp expert has advised Malawi to legalise its quality hemp and make money out of the plant.
The expert Graham MacKintosh said this at a press briefing in Lilongwe. He is in Malawi to do research on industrial hemp.
MacKintosh who is leader of Green Quest Farmaceuticals said legal barriers continue to deprive the country of an alternative forex earner.
The hemp expert further said there is a huge market out there for high quality, Malawian industrial hemp hence the need to speed up legalizing it claiming the country can earn a lot of money from the plant.
“You have got the tobacco industry as the foundation. You have got all regulations already existing in this country to be able to do the transition from tobacco to cannabis whether it is slow transition or fast transition, it’s up to the country to decide.
“We now need to go to the next point of getting the regulations done so that those regulations can be promoted properly either by decree or by regulation upgrade,” said Mackintosh
He added that his company is looking for industrial hemp from Malawi saying the market for the hemp is already available.
Concurring with Mackintosh, MCP Member of Parliament for Ntchisi north constituency, Boniface Kadzamira who introduced the issue of legalizing industrial hemp to parliament in 2015 said government should quickly draw guidelines to attract more hemp investors.
In 2015, parliament allowed the agriculture department and Invegrow, a local company, to carry out further research on several varieties of hemp at the Chitedze Research Station in Lilongwe.
However, Drug Fight Malawi through its director Nelson Zakeyu in 2015 urged President Peter Mutharika not to assent to the a bill on legalising industrial hemp saying there is need for more research on the issue.
Zakeyu said government need to do research on the long term effects of legalising the drug on the country’s youth.