The Green Party has disclosed that it is yet to meet with the new dawn government and President Hakainde Hichilema regarding the future of the country’s quest to permit the production and export of cannabis for medicinal and export purposes.
On May 20, 2021, Zambia enacted two laws, the Cannabis Act, 2021 and the Industrial Hemp Act, 2021 to permit the production and export of cannabis for medical and export purposes which Mr. Sinkamba projects to earn the country over $34 billion from sales over the next 3 years.
In an interview, Green Party Leader Peter Sinkamba has disclosed that the challenge to implement the laws is on the President who, by design in the laws, is supposed to designate places for cultivation and that ministers can only sign commencement orders at the head of the state’s directive.
Mr. Sinkamba explains that President Hichilema must give direction on the way forward so that the country can begin to benefit from the multi-billion dollars industry.
He adds that the enactment of the cannabis act and industrial hemp act last year meant this was no longer his party’s program but binding laws to the benefit of Zambia and must now be implemented.
Meanwhile, the new dawn UPND government has said that it is currently consulting extensively on the way forward regards the cultivation and use of cannabis for medicinal purposes in Zambia.
Ministry of health permanent secretary in charge of technical services, professor Lackson Kasonka said that that the cannabis act was acted upon by the previous PF government which Looked at cannabis from an economic point of view, something which the current government feels is a low hanging fruit regarding how much revenue can be generated by the government.
Professor Kasonka stated that the new dawn government is currently engaging and consulting with various stakeholders to see what the mood regards the issue is as it may not be the same as it was in the previous regime.
The permanent secretary said that the government is also trying to see what is happening in other countries so as to draw lessons on how best the plant can be of benefit to the country in various aspects.
Professor Kasonka has since stated that the public will soon be informed on the way forward once consultations reach an advanced stage.
The previous patriotic front government last year in May enacted two laws which are the cannabis act, 2021 and the industrial hemp act, 2021 following a 2019 cabinet decision to permit the production and export of cannabis for medical and export purposes.