Cannabis is a new industry, and the government's restrictions on getting a cannabis license in Zambia has resulted in limited growth but there are tremendous opportunities.

How to get a Cannabis License in Zambia

The Cannabis Industry is developing rapidly in Zambia and there is plenty of opportunity for investors looking to make a mark.

Cannabis is known as Zam-Blaze, chwang, or dobo in Zambia and has the third highest number (per capita) of cannabis users in the world. Currently, the country has only legalized the cultivation of medical cannabis and its export. This article will take you through everything you need to know about becoming a licensed cannabis producer in Zambia.

Zambia’s economy is largely dependent on agriculture and tourism and the recent legalization of the cultivation of cannabis could be a boon for both industries. The cannabis industry is still in its infancy due to the government’s heavy restrictions and no future plans to change but it has enormous potential. 

The Cannabis Industry in Zambia

Zambia’s government legalized the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes but until now, no licenses have been issued to cannabis growers. The potential of this industry is unfortunately severely underexploited. Many prominent leaders in Zambia have spoken out about the great benefits legalizing cannabis for medicinal use would have on the country’s economy.

The government created the Cannabis Act 2021, which prescribes all the requirements needed to apply for a medicinal cannabis license. It states that an application can be made to the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) but licenses can only be obtained by paying a fee, although there is no established fixed amount. The cost is determined by the minister who can revoke, amend or suspend a license at any point.

The legalization of cannabis cultivation in Zambia has the potential to bolster both its agricultural industry and tourism. Cannabis is a new industry, and the government's restrictions on getting a cannabis license in Zambia has resulted in limited growth but there are tremendous opportunities.
The legalization of cannabis cultivation in Zambia has the potential to bolster both its agricultural industry and tourism. Cannabis is a new industry, and the government’s restrictions have limited growth but there are tremendous opportunities.

The Current Cannabis Laws in Zambia

It is currently illegal to possess and use Cannabis in Zambia and the penalties are severe for those caught with even a small amount. All those who are caught may be convicted to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 15 years. Additionally, possessing instruments or equipment used for the consumption of cannabis can result in imprisonment of up to 10 years. 

Selling or supplying cannabis in Zambia is also a criminal offense and the law states that anyone caught trafficking the substance may be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison. The limited sentence for importing or exporting is 20 years. However, this hasn’t stopped or even slowed the market down.

Cultivation is also a crime in Zambia unless you’ve obtained a specific license. Despite these harsh penalties, cannabis farming is common in the country, and being an impoverished nation, cannabis provides a far higher market price than many other crops. 

Zambia has no official law regarding the legal status of CBD and because it’s not specifically differentiated from cannabis, it’s still illegal to use, purchase or sell it in the country, even if it is for medicinal purposes. Cannabis seeds are illegal because they’re regarded to be a part of the cannabis plant and may not be used for cultivation or mailed into the country.

Industrial hemp is also illegal to cultivate in Zambia because the plant is not differentiated from cannabis. Hemp could have great economic benefits for the country and provide farmers with a legal alternative to cannabis cultivation. However, there is also no indication these laws will change anytime soon. 

Cultivation for medicinal purposes has been legalized by the Zambian government, however, with no licenses being issued, there is very little happening in the legal industry. It seems unlikely that the people of Zambia will have access to medicinal cannabis any time soon, especially with the continued stigmatization. 

Closing Thoughts on the Future of the Cannabis Industry in Zambia

The mere fact that you found your way to this article is remarkable, we’re sure that you’re an ambitious grower. The oppourtunity in international trade does not end here. We have written guides on getting your cannabis license for more countries, such as Peru, Argentina, St. Vincent, Switzerland, and South Africa. Check out our guides over here: How to get a Cannabis License in Peru, Cannabis License in Argentina, How to Get a Cannabis License in St. Vincent, How to Get a Cannabis License in Switzerland, and How to get a Cannabis License in South Africa.

The future of Zambia’s medicinal cannabis industry hangs in the balance with politicians and spokespeople previously saying that the legalization of the plant would only increase its recreational use. There are signs that this might change though with the recent legalization and a recent team being assembled by the government to tour other nations where medicinal cannabis is being produced. 

For now, we will keep our eyes and ears open for any new industry updates so be sure to check back on this article in a few months! In the meantime, let’s chat further about your interest in compliant cannabis cultivation and how GrowerIQ’s dedicated seed-to-sale consultants can assist you on your way. Learn more by clicking the link below.

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