Cannabis producers from Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and more are already getting licensed to grow cannabis in Africa.
While cannabis cultivation is becoming legalized in more places, not all locations are ideal for growing. That is why cannabis growers are looking outside of their own country for places to grow cannabis. Zimbabwe is one of these nations that is offering both domestic and international opportunities for cannabis cultivation and export. Continue reading for a comprehensive guide to help you become a licensed cannabis producer in Zimbabwe.
Overview of Cannabis in Zimbabwe
Many in the cannabis business are not very familiar with Zimbabwe and why it might be a great place to grow cannabis. The nation of Zimbabwe is located in southeast Africa and became a major trade route in the 11th century. The 1800s brought European colonization followed by civil war in the 1960s. Zimbabwe suffered greatly and experienced severe economic decline under the authoritarian regime of Robert Mugabe from 1980 to 2017. Now that Zimbabwe is rebuilding itself, it faces many challenges to rebuild its economy.
In 2018, the same year that general elections first took place, medical cannabis cultivation was legalized in an effort to help bolster the economy and to replace tobacco crops. Cannabis is, of course, more profitable than tobacco, especially since anti-tobacco campaigns have significantly reduced the number of tobacco users worldwide over the years. The subtropical climate and cheaper costs in Zimbabwe make it more ideal for cannabis cultivation than places like Canada or Germany. However, land used for tobacco farming is not necessarily suitable for cannabis due to erosion and contaminants, among other causes.
“Domestically, agricultural production has struggled [in Zimbabwe] due to underutilization of farmland, a declining supply of pesticides, degraded soil quality, deforestation, and impacts from climate change (such as drought). Lacking infrastructure, irrigation, and access to water also impact the agricultural sector .”
Another notable issue is that while the cultivation of medicinal cannabis has been legalized, its personal use and possession are not legal. A 2021 study notes that cannabis is Africa’s most consumed illegal substance . Strict criminal penalties have led to overpopulated prisons, accelerated environmental damage, and regional instability. While African nations like South Africa, Egypt, and Ghana have decriminalized personal use of cannabis, Zimbabwe has not. Illegal cannabis use and possession in Zimbabwe can result in a 12-year prison sentence. This puts cannabis in a very tight legal framework – compliance is key.
The Current Cannabis Cultivation Market in Zimbabwe
In 2019, Bloomberg reported that there were 57 licensed investors in Zimbabwe. These range from local operators to firms from Germany, Switzerland, and Canada. Investors own all of their investments, and the government does not have any co-ownership of their operations. In order to get a cannabis license in Zimbabwe, investors work with The Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA). Marijuana and hemp are not differentiated in Zimbabwe. Both are considered to be cannabis and either of them can be grown with the same license.
“Zimbabwe could potentially gain $19.5 million in yearly tax revenue [from cannabis]… [and] could lead to 60,000-90,000 jobs for Zimbabwe. The medical cannabis industry could save Zimbabwe $9.9 million in health care costs .”
Cannabis License Requirements in Zimbabwe
Statutory Instrument (SI) 62 of 2018 (Dangerous Drugs Act) legalized the cultivation and processing of cannabis for medicinal and scientific research. ZIDA handles the investment portion of cannabis ventures, but regulation is carried out by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) under the Ministry of Health and Child Care. The administration of SI 62 of 2018 is the responsibility of the Health Ministry.
Here is the checklist of requirements to be submitted to ZIDA in order to obtain a cannabis cultivation license in Zimbabwe:
- Completed ZIDA application form for the issue of a Medicinal cannabis license submitted by email to email@example.com
- Application Fee of $11,250.00 USD (due upon application submission)
- A license fee of $46,000.00 USD (due upon approval)
- Three copies of a detailed site plan of the proposed land to be licensed
- Lease agreement/proof of land
- Cannabis business plan including financials and projections for five years
- Security plan
- Proof of funds with bank statements
- Investment Stability Agreement (ISA) (to be signed with ZIDA when the license is issued)
ZIDA also elaborated additional requirements in their online guidebook . These include:
- Certified copies of company registration
- Certified copies of identification for company directors and personal profiles for them
- Police clearance from the investor/director’s country of residence
- Bills of lading, import permits, and/or bills of entry for capital equipment and any relevant permits needed for equipment like power generators
- Work permits, tourism permits, and any other relevant approvals for living and working in the country
In addition to these major points, there are some other considerations to be aware of. The budget for annual fees is $15,000 and the license renewal cost is of $20,000 for a standard five-year license. Growers also have to submit documentation of the maximum amount of cannabis that will be grown and/or processed during the production period. Prior to selling or exporting cannabis, the health ministry must be informed of the exact amounts and grant approvals. It is strongly recommended that growers interested in getting a cannabis cultivation license in Zimbabwe dig in deep and read the relevant laws and regulations, then reach out to ZIDA for further details on how to start the application process.
Growing Cannabis in Zimbabwe
According to a report from Reuters, cannabis producers in Zimbabwe must grow in greenhouses in order to meet the criteria for “organically grown” cannabis. For security and monitoring, growers are required to install smart technology on their premises . The smart technology for monitoring gives the Minister of Health real-time access to monitoring farms for compliance (they will also perform on-site visits).
When it comes to acquiring cannabis seed in Zimbabwe, The Independent reported some insights on the process. According to their research, The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement works closely with ZIDA and MCAZ to ensure that the quality of seeds imported meets the regulatory requirements. Zimbabwe’s Tobacco Research Board (TRB) is also testing fifteen varieties for suitability.
Closing Thoughts on Getting a Cannabis License in Zimbabwe
Cannabis has a lot to offer Zimbabwe. It is suggested that the industry can create much-needed tax revenue and jobs while bolstering international trade and revitalizing the agricultural sector . While barriers such as high fees and regulations that need more fine-tuning do exist, Zimbabwe also offers a lot of opportunities for cannabis growers. If you are interested in getting a cannabis cultivation license in Zimbabwe, the expert team at GrowerIQ can help guide you in your application process.
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 Zambia, Peru, Argentina, St. Vincent, and South Africa. Check out our guides over here: Cannabis License Zambia, How to get a Cannabis License in Peru, Cannabis License in Argentina, How to Get a Cannabis License in St. Vincent, and How to get a Cannabis License in South Africa.
Find Out More
This discussion only scratches the surface. Let’s discuss your project in order to build a compliant cannabis cultivation plan that best supports your needs. Our consultants can help, both in planning your project and with the tracking technology you’ll need to satisfy ZIDA. Learn more by filling out the form below, or starting a chat with us to the right!Discuss with Our Expert Advisors
- Cannabis in Zimbabwe 2019: Medical and Industrial Applications and Implications. New Frontiers Data. (2019). Retrieved May 31, 2022 from: https://info.newfrontierdata.com/2019-cannabis-in-zimbabwe-report-download
- Status and Impacts of Recreational and Medicinal Cannabis Policies in Africa: A Systematic Review and Thematic Analysis of Published and “Gray” Literature | Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. (2021). Retrieved May 31, 2022, from Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research website: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/can.2021.0110?journalCode=ca
- ZIDA MEDICINAL CANNABIS PAMPHLET. (2021). ZIDA MEDICINAL CANNABIS PAMPHLET. Retrieved May 31, 2022, from FlippingBook website: https://online.flippingbook.com/view/1042382561/8
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