Invegrow Malawi Limited, a firm that grows and processes industrial hemp, has asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to speed up the implementation of the Cannabis Regulation Act.
This, the firm says, will enable the country to start reaping benefits from the crop.
Invegrow Limited director Nerbert Nyirenda, whose firm conducted research which showed that the crop can perform well in Malawi, blamed bureaucracy for hindering the implementation of the legislation.
He said: “The Act has to be gazetted and the responsible minister has to gazette both the effective date of the Act and regulations to operationalise the Act.”
In February this year, Parliament passed the law which was assented to by President Peter Mutharika to regulate research, cultivation, production, processing, possession, storage, exportation, sale, distribution and use of cannabis and its products for medicinal, industrial or scientific purposes under prescribed conditions.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security is yet to gazette the law and come up with regulations to ensure that the law is operational.
The ministry’s spokesperson Priscilla Mateyu said in an interview on Monday that they are currently developing guidelines and regulations to facilitate the implementation of the law.
She said: “Government is working towards implementation of the cannabis law and it is taking into consideration all aspects of that law.
“Interested individuals must be patient. Once all processes are finalised, government will inform interested parties.”
Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Food Security chairperson, Ulemu Chilapondwa, in an interview on Monday said the committee has been receiving numerous complaints from stakeholders in line with the ministry’s delay in coming up with regulations to operationalise the law.
“The law is the landmark legislation for Malawi because it introduces medicinal cannabis which is a sensitive crop and can be misconstrued by people with the illegal Indian hemp,” he said.
The law establishes the Cannabis Regulatory Authority, which will be responsible for licensing and regulating medicinal and industrial hemp programmes.