By Roland Sebestyén
Following the government’s decision to allow the cultivation and processing of cannabis for industrial and medicinal use, Malawi was given a historic opportunity to benefit from its gold standard cannabis, the Malawian Gold. In the middle of all this, there is a British businesswoman.
In February, Malawi became the next African country in the global cannabis market. Experts and business owners familiar with the industry expected the move for a while.
One of the main reasons the country stepped into the cannabis market is the Malawi Gold – or as known locally, the Chamba.
It’s an internationally acclaimed cannabis strain which is, according to the World Bank, among the “best and finest cannabis in the world.” In 2011, they valued Malawi Gold at around $2 million.
However, over the last few years, with strict cannabis policy in place, reports suggested that the country was losing millions of dollars annually.
Amid the Coronavirus pandemic and the fact that Malawi is among the poorest countries in the world, the decision to utilise the drug seemed inevitable.
The Times reports that Tanya Clarke, a British entrepreneur who moved to Malawi 14 years ago, is playing a crucial role in educating the Malawians on cannabis.
She told the paper, for many, cannabis was still linked to drug abuse and “social mores.” Because of this, she said, it was vital to find the right tone when communicating with the people.
According to Clarke, in meetings with politicians and local leaders, she had quoted from the Bible, more precisely verses regarding plants and vegetation in the book of Genesis.
Ms Clarke added: “We found the term industrial hemp caused less alarm to describe the industrial applications of the plant.”
Now, Ms Clarke’s company, Invegrow, is able to “legally investigate what it is about Malawi Gold that has made it one of the most psychoactive pure African sativas.”
According to Journal du Cameroun, Malawians are eager to enter the cannabis market. It is reported that Malawi’s Cannabis Regulatory Authority has received a high number of applications from business owners in order to be licenced to cannabis for medicinal and industrial use.
CRA Chairman Boniface Kadzamira said: “We have received an overwhelming response in terms of applications for licences, but applicants must appreciate that we’ll not give everyone a licence at once.”
He added that people wishing to be given a licence would have to pay up between $100 and $10,000 a year for the cultivation, selling, storage, distribution of either class of industrial and medicinal hemp.