Lesotho Legalises Cannabis
A South African medical company based in the Western Cape is about to start cultivating cannabis for medical and scientific reasons in a unique community profit-sharing deal made with Lesotho’s Ministry of Health.
Verve Dynamics in a Win-Win Deal
Verve Dynamics will be the first ever marijuana manufacturing company in Africa to be allowed to grow and process cannabis – in a tiny country called Lesotho. Cannabis is already the main cash crop in the Mountain Kingdom where farmers know exactly what they are doing with the herb and where government is collaborating to lead the African industry in cannabis products and medicinal benefits.
Verve Dynamics obtained their license in September 2017 and has invested some R30 million into the first phase of the project. Following the Lesotho Government’s Good Agrictultural Practices and Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations, Verve Dynamics will also adhere to the country’s, and global, medical and narcotic regulations.
Phases 1, 2 and 3
According to Richard Davies of Verve Dynamics, the aim is to first grow a bumper crop of cannabis and then to harvest the plant and to produce different forms of cannabis – capsules, tinctures and other therapeutic products.
When Verve Dynamics has tested the demand for medical cannabis in terms of the African and overseas markets, they will start with Phase 2 and 3. This will see an extension of Phase 1 in proportion to the size of the public demand.
Lesotho Leads Cannabis Demand
Davies is hoping for a huge demand as a total of 70% of Africa’s cannabis is currently grown in Lesotho and the African market is developing. Not only will Verve Dynamics be the very first company to grow cannabis and produce superior medicinal products, but so too was the company the first to make a tranquiliser from Channa or Kanna or Kougoed, the succulent herb also known as Sceletium tortuosum. In this win-win situation, the Khoe Khoe community shares their Sceletium plants with Verve and they split the profits.
World Class Natural Medicines
Verve Dynamics specialises in making extractions and isolates, nutraceuticals and afro-botanicals from indigenous plants. The Lesotho cannabis project is the next successful step in a company’s benefit-sharing outlook that also protects indigenous herbs.
Davies is convinced that the Lesotho Government is helping the country become a forerunner in the legalisation of cannabis and the formulation of cannabis products – using high tech apparatus for abstraction of the oils within the cannabis plants. It is ironic that this mind-blowing technology is reaping rewards in the smallest country in Africa whose population is a mere 2 million!
Africa Waits in the Wings
Meanwhile, other African countries are starting to look at the benefits of growing cannabis as a lucrative crop. Their government representatives are presently assessing the low-THC version of hemp. And in Zimbabwe, a Canadian company has requested the government to give them a license to produce weed, or mbanje, as the locals call it.
But in South Africa, cannabis remains illegal. No one is permitted to grow, sell or smoke cannabis in South Africa but the USA has recognised that all African countries could start growing cannabis to take advantage of what seems to be an increasing acceptance of the plant as a medicinal drug worldwide.