Eswatini: Marijuana Growers Are Opposing Proposed Cannabis Reform

Marijuana activists and farmers in Eswatini (previously called Swaziland) are raising their voices against the medical marijuana legalization bill, writes Semafor Africa.

What happened: The southern African Kingdom of Eswatini is looking to reform its century-old drug laws by legalizing marijuana for medical and research purposes. However, cannabis advocates in the country say that the proposed law disrupts the current trade, which has been helping many families eke out a living for decades.

Marijuana farmers argue that the legislation is crafted in a way that would only serve the kingdom’s upper class, while they will suffer the economic consequences.

Eswatini Cannabis Association (ECA) chair Saladin Magagula told Semafor that the measure is aimed only at establishing a new regulator, the Medicines Regulatory Authority (MRA), which will be allowed to import, export, and trade wholesale, cannabis and cannabis products.

“They cannot be both the referee and the player at the same time,” Magagula said. “You cannot as an authority give yourself an export and import license while also issuing the same to people.”

Marijuana farmers are afraid that under the proposed law they will have to compete with wealthy businesses. 

Eswatini cannabis is popular under the name “Swazi Gold” and is often praised for its high potency and medical properties. The country's traditional marijuana farmers would rather continue …

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