In recent international news, Uganda will soon be exporting cannabis to Canada and Germany. Despite the current prohibition on cannabis, Uganda’s government recently made a bid worth $160 million to produce medical marijuana for Germany and Canada. The deal was officially made between private Ugandan production company, Industrial Hemp, and Together Pharma, an Israeli medical cannabis distribution company, and will extend over a period of ten years.
This isn’t the first time that the Ugandan government has overseen the production and export of medical marijuana to other countries with more liberal drug policies. The country secured a $10,000 contract for “unprocessed cannabis buds” back in 2017.
Large orders from at least 20,000 pharmacies in Canada and Germany have been confirmed.
According to Benjamin Cadet, one of Industrial Hemp’s Directors, “We signed annual supply contracts with pharmacies in Canada to a tune of $100m and €58m for Germany…the current contracts run for 10 years but along the way, we shall expand to satisfy future demand.”
Using Cannabis To Combat The Opioid Crisis
Said Cadet, “People are using morphine, the main component of opium as an analgesic for cancer pain. Opium is an Opioid and more addictive and with side effects with Cannabinol (CBD) from medical marijuana is the best option for such patients…Cancer patients are using CBD illegally. We have the scientists and the technology but regulations are not in place to allow cannabis drugs manufactured for domestic consumption.”
Ugandan First Lady and Education minister, Ms. Janet Museveni, has been quoted calling the marijuana export deal “satanic.”
According to the Health Ministry, “There is a big economic value potential for the country considering the rate at which countries are opening up their markets for the sale of cannabis products for medical purposes…As much as the area of cannabis cultivation and extraction on an industrial scale is new in Uganda, stringent measures are in place regulate it. These projects will create jobs, bring in foreign currency, and above all, there is no imminent threat to the people of Uganda or the environment if the measures put in place are adhered to.”
A Cabinet sub-committee, chaired by Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, has been given the task of evaluating the potential health and monetary benefits associated with the production of medical marijuana.
Industrial Hemp is the only company that has received approval to produce medical cannabis in Uganda thus far. This is according to a memo written by the Ugandan Health Ministry and sent to the Cabinet. The memo reads, in part, “The ministry has received applications from 14 companies interested in the cultivation, extraction and export of cannabis oil for medical purposes in line with the provision of Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act 2015.”
Said State Minister for Investment, Evelyn Anite, a few weeks ago, “We have put the license on halt as we wait for final position by cabinet on growing the cannabis. Cabinet tasked the Ministry of Health to do research and give a report on the matter in two months, ending next month. We have to do research on how to regulate and control cannabis and the minister is supposed to return to Cabinet on May 15.”