This year’s edition of ZITF will take place from April 26-30 under the theme, “Rethinking, reimagining, reinventing value chains for economic development”. The show resumed last year after being suspended in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Zimbabwean cannabis laws are strict, with long prison sentences of up to ten years for even limited private use. However, in 2018, the country took progressive steps by legalizing the cultivation of the plant for medicinal purposes.
However, recently, Zimbabwe’s tobacco industry has hinted that it sees cannabis as a major source of revenue, as anti-tobacco sentiment is expected to dampen demand for one of the country’s main exports.
Cannabis demand is expected to increase
According to Meanwell Gudu, CEO of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board, anticipated demand for cannabis is expected to continue to grow while global tobacco production could decline by 15% by 2030.
Tobacco brought the country $819 million in revenue in 2021. Farmers will be encouraged to plant cannabis so that a quarter of their income will come from the plant by 2025, Gudu said. Bloomberg News.
The country exported 30 tonnes of industrial hemp to Switzerland in 2022, its first foray into the European market, said Zorodzai Maroveke, the founder of the Zimbabwe Industrial Hemp Trust.
The group joins forces with the tobacco office to facilitate the “smooth transition” cannabis for commercial purposes. Another 20 tons of industrial hemp are expected to be exported to the European nation, she said.
Marijuana is illegal in Kenya
In Kenya, the cultivation and consumption of cannabis was prohibited during the British Colonial Protectorate of East Africa under the Opium Ordinance, the law which came into full force on January 1, 1914, criminalizing its use and cultivation.
However, in Kenya in 2018, the late Kibra MP Ken Okoth introduced the Marijuana Control Bill in the National Assembly to decriminalize the use of the herb.
The proposed bill suggested that the legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes was for those who wanted to smoke, eat or drink cannabis and that they needed to obtain a license to do so.