While African countries are known to produce profitable cannabis product—including some of the most sought-after strains in the planet—no one has ever participated in the trade legally. That will soon change thanks to Lesotho’s Ministry of Health. The department recently bestowed one South African Medical Company an official license to cultivate marijuana medicinally.
Verve Dynamics characterizes itself as “a dedicated Vegan friendly manufacturer of highly purified botanical extracts and specialty ingredients sourced exclusively by us from around the world.” Utilizing proprietary technologies, they develop and manufacture extractions and compounds for users.
“Access to medicinal cannabis on the African continent has taken another major step forward today and Verve Dynamics is honored to be the first company in Africa to have been granted regulatory approval to begin the process of growing and producing high quality cannabis extracts commercially,” Verve Dynamics Managing Director Richard Davies stated in a release.
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Lesotho is a small, high-altitude country in the heart of South Africa. Residents have already been producing cannabis they would export across country lines to South Africa. The country’s decision to view marijuana as a possible revenue instead of illegal activity demarcates a shift in thinking. Africans regularly consume and export cannabis, but now Lesotho might participate in the burgeoning global cannabis industry if its country can regulate its product, something few African countries have managed to do.
“The Government’s decision to move forward with this historic decision means that Lesotho will play a significant role in developing this industry, both locally and internationally, as well as establishing itself as a pioneer on the African continent with regards to state of the art extraction equipment,” reads the statement.
Other African countries already participate in the cannabis trade. Swaziland growers have relied upon the plant to support their families for year while Malawi legalized chamba, what they call marijuana, after realizing the lucrative opportunities. Zimbabwe too is considering legalizing production of mbanje—their local dialect for marijuana—after a Canadian firm approached the country with an offer.
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In the United States alone, the cannabis industry produced $6.7 billion in North American sales and American sales are expected to reach $37.3 billion by 2024. If Africa becomes serious about cannabis, the continent could blossom into a gold mine. The efforts in Lesotho could be the signal of those potential changing tides.