The Zimbabwe government has put on hold plans to issue licences to farmers to grow marijuana for medical and research purposes, citing the need to first carry out feasibility studies.
Deputy Finance Minister Terence Mukupe says the state Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) had received more than 350 applications from local and foreign growers since the government published new regulations for growing the crop commercially.
“MCAZ has put on hold licensing until they are pretty clear in terms of all the modalities like: how do we actually implement?,” Mukupe told the private Daily News on Sunday
Under the regulations, an application fee of $50 000 has to be paid to MCAZ , in addition to tens of thousands of dollars for various other fees.
Mukupe said potential growers and investors had provided the government with all sorts of “crazy” figures on how much the crop could actually earn.
“What has to be done on our side as government is probably to have a proper feasibility study and have experts telling us what’s actually the truth. When you go over the 350 applications the difference in numbers and what they are talking about; it’s crazy,” he said.
Last month’s news that the government would licence cannabis farming received a mixed reaction from locals after many wrongly interpreted it as a general legalisation of the drug.
Unlicensed growing and possession of marijuana is still a crime in Zimbabwe that can result in a 12-year jail term.