According to the Ugandan Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 2015, cultivation, production and exportation of medical marijuana is allowed mandating the minister to issue written consent for medical marijuana.
In December 2017, Uganda exported unrefined cannabis buds to South Africa’s National Analytical Forensic Services in Pretoria. This year the country is set to export medical marijuana products to Canada and Germany worth Shs600b in June. A director at Industrial Hemp (U) Ltd a private firm jointly working with an Israel company, Together Pharma Ltd confirmed medical cannabis orders from at least 20,000 pharmacies in Canada and Germany with an order to Industrial Hemp (U) Ltd was valued at $10,000 (Shs37.1m).
This decision has thrown Cannabis growers in Uganda into a frenzy overwhelming its ministry by the number of ganja planters, both local and foreign, inquiring about the application process and follow-ups.
The Health Minister, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, confirmed the scramble for cannabis growing in Uganda and revealed how the number of interested companies has shot up from 14 to 20 with local owners seeking to tap into the $5b cannabis industry.
As at now, the ministry is stuck with 20 bids from companies and individuals competing to secure government clearance to grow and export marijuana for medical purposes because they lack regulations governing such an undertaking. However, Dr. Aceng insists the applications will have to wait for the final decision of Cabinet.
“Marijuana growing without proper control measures can be dangerous to our youthful population, already it is the second highest cause for the Butabika [mental rehabilitation] hospital admissions majority of whom are youth. We can’t just accept growing cannabis,” the State Minister for Health, Ms. Sarah Opendi warned.
The health benefits of marijuana, cannot be underestimated. Its medicinal properties, though still under research have proven to be very impactful. There are lots of evidence for the therapeutic effects of cannabis relating to its ability to reduce chronic pain, nausea, and vomiting due to chemotherapy and spasticity.