While Uganda’s National Drug Policy and Authority Act, 1993 provides that “No person shall, without the written consent of the Health Minister… cultivate any plant from, which a narcotic drug can be extracted,” an Israeli firm Together Pharma Limited turned the tables. It was licensed to cultivate Marijuana in the company of a local firm Industrial Hemp Uganda Limited, which is linked to an ex-member of parliament.
The firm has made public its first harvest, despite the government claiming that it did not license it. A statement indicates that the company completed the first harvesting of Cannabis inflorescences at its farm in Uganda on June 18, 2019, and sowed another 10 dunams on the company’s farm in Uganda on the same day according to Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Authority Ltd.
The statement further revealed the harvested produce will be marketed to one of the European countries. Together Pharma Limited produces and exports medical cannabis around the world. On its website, Industrial Hemp Uganda Limited shows that it is already growing medical cannabis in the country. “The Company is primarily engaged in the growing and development of medical cannabis (Medical Marijuana) and cannabis products for industrial purposes in Uganda,” it reads.
Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 2015, specifies that persons involved in the manufacture, production, sale, or distribution of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances commit an offence and are liable, on conviction, to a ﬁne or imprisonment of as much as five years or both. That the law prohibits the cultivation of any plant, including cannabis, from which narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances which may be extracted, without permission from the Health Minister.
Although there were suspicions about the legality of growing Marijuana, Health Minister, Jane Aceng in April confirmed that the cabinet had sought the assurances from the company that growing medical marijuana wouldn’t have a negative impact on the economy.
The government said it had put a committee to look into the issue and report part back to the cabinet. That they would base on that report on whether to award licenses or not, a statement that has not materialized.