Developed countries raid each other to legalize marijuana and its sister – industrial hemp. Kenya has a law laying eggs in parliament to legalize the same thing. While marijuana and hemp come from the same cannabis family, they are different: weed is an intoxicating recreational drug, and hemp on the other end of the joint is a subspecies of the cannabis plant with benefits of industrial proportions.
Marijuana is used for recreation because it has higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound that makes smokers feel like they are touching heaven. Hemp has lower levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, so it is not ideal for altering a person’s state of mind through poisoning.
And while marijuana is shorter, hemp has taller stature, slender leaves, and a more open bud structure, and grows in sunny, cool, or temperate regions.
This is the difference Kenyan laws need to adjust in favor of medical marijuana and industrial hemp.
But being part of the cannabis family, growing hemp will result in the police calling you politely like they catch you smoking weed! A 10-year prison sentence also applies if found guilty of possession of marijuana or hemp under the Narcotics and Psychotropic Drugs Act 1994.
However, according to the UN, more than 50 countries have introduced medical cannabis, with Canada, Uruguay and 15 states legalizing its recreational use, while the United Nations Narcotics Commission (CND) has voted to consider marijuana a “dangerous drug” for its medical and therapeutic potential “.
However, the UN does not endorse marijuana use for “non-medical and non-scientific purposes”.
The pull in favor of weed is so strong that in 2020 the Kenyan Pharmaceutical Society asked parliament to amend the Narcotics and Psychotropic Control Act (1994) to allow access to medical marijuana.
Industrial hemp, on the other hand, is even more interesting. It’s got a business high. With over 100 commercial uses, including for medical conditions such as chronic pain, Alzheimer’s, and various inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. This explains why there has been a global campaign to legalize it: the US, Canada, Israel, Greece, Austria, Bulgaria, Norway, Ireland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and North Korea have all legalized it.
The next biggest moneymaker
In Africa, Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Rwanda and Ghana have legalized industrial hemp, which is said to be the second largest money maker while reducing the impact of climate change.
Just so you know, the 2018 Farm Bill signed by ex-President Donald Trump removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and is now used in textiles and fabrics. Marijuana, which is used to make rope, is illegal in North Korea, but not hemp, which is used to make rope. Hemp is also ideal for making plastics, paper, concrete and other building materials for roofing, flooring, plastering, painting and insulation.
It also makes fibers for vehicle bodies and spare parts, flour and animal feed. That’s not all. Hemp beauty products include lotions, lip balms, shampoo and conditioners, aromatherapy candles, and bath oils. Hemp also makes solar panels, ink, carpets, diapers, and shoes.
In medicine, hemp is used to make drugs to treat arthritis, asthma, coughs, and warts.
In Canada, hemp is legally grown, imported and exported through Health Canada, the regulator that has seen the number of licensed hemp growers increase from over 500 in 2018 to over 1000 in 2020. Even Atlas Development, which operated on the Nairobi Securities Exchange but listed in 2018, relocated its base to Canada, where it trades in hemp as Atlas Growers.
Over 131,000 acres in Canada
In Canada there are more than 131,000 hectares under hemp, the oils of which are extracted alongside hemp protein powders and hemp seeds, which are similar to sunflower seeds.
In China, hemp is roasted for snacks and oil, while in 2020 about 40 percent as part of the global industrial hemp market of 642 billion Sh. According to Verified Market Research, growth of 28 billion by 2028.
In 2017, Kenyan researchers Gwada Ogot and Simon Mwaura applied to parliament, without much success, to legalize marijuana for medical and not recreational use.
“There is no African community that has asked the Kenyan government to ban cannabis,” Ogot said in an interview with KTN Prime. “That was a thing with an international dimension.”
Ogot told the Senate that “the benefits of this plant will not help Kenya; it will revolutionize it ”, adding that“ every plant that God has given us should be made available for their people to use ”.
Senator Ledama ole Kina publicly supported the bill, arguing that its benefits outweigh the harm and countries are changing attitudes to legalize it. “If this is good for relieving cancer patient pain, why not legalize it?” He turned himself in.
In 2018, Kibra MP Ken Okoth tabled the Marijuana Control Bill, which aims to establish a marijuana control council to regulate its use, register farmers, raise awareness and promote its medicinal properties.
Omari Bradley argues in his legal dissertation, Why Kenya Should Legalize Marijuana, that his legislation would increase tax revenues in an industry with enormous growth potential.
A success of the draft law means that three statutes would be affected. Revised Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPSA No. 4 of 1994), the Marijuana Control Act, the Marijuana Control Bill, and the Crop Act to accommodate it as a cash crop.
Despite its illegality, weed is widespread at Kenyan parties, campuses, and campsites.
Israeli weed company INVEST US $ 40 billion in Uganda
Uganda has licensed two companies to grow marijuana commercially. Industrial Hemp (U) Ltd and Together Pharma, an Israeli company, have won the bid. 13 more companies are awaiting approval from the Department of Health to allow the use of cannabis to treat cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, arthritis and other neurological diseases.
About 100 other companies have expressed interest after the regulations were revised to allow exports for medical purposes.
Pharma Ltd and Industrial Hemp, which grow industrial hemp in greenhouses, are the largest marijuana producers in Hima. Kasese has invested $ 360 million ($ 39 billion), according to Nir Sosinsky, Managing Director of Together Pharma, citing growth markets for medical cannabis products including inflorescence, capsules, oils, biscuits such as Israel, Germany and Australia.
Recreational marijuana is illegal in Uganda, but industrial hemp is legal, and investors wishing to grow or export marijuana for clinical use are required to have a minimum capital of $ 5 million ($ 500 million), a bank guarantee of $ 5 million, according to Uganda’s Daily Monitor $ 4 billion includes a tax certificate, valid business license, audited accounts, and proof of the added value of cannabis as part of the regulations.
Uganda’s Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 2015 permits the cultivation, production and export of medical marijuana after being licensed by the Ministry of Health.
In April, the Ugandan authorities released 250 kg of marijuana to Tel Aviv, Israel. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid $ 375,000 (37.5 million shutters) for dried cannabis flowers and exported cannabinol and tetrahydrocannabinol for approved Satives drugs in the US, Europe and Canada.
What is interesting is that some cannabis seeds originated in Kenya to develop commercial strains like Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.