Cannabis production gets Govt thumbs up

TINASHE MAKICHI

Investors in the production and processing of medicinal cannabis in Zimbabwe are entitled to wholly own their investments and locate their facilities anywhere in the country without prescription among a raft of reforms to attract capital into the sector.

The operational framework will be administered through the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Authority’s (ZIDA) One Stop Investment Services Centre (OSISC).

This is a significant departure from previous policy which required investors to co-own investments in joint ventures with government or government entities and locate their investments at state prescribed locations.

“This is the country’s strong statement of intent to nurture and grow this industry and become one of the leading players in medicinal cannabis production, fully optimising the inherent comparative advantage Zimbabwe has in the form of skills, climate and agricultural expertise,” ZIDA chief executive Douglas Munatsi said.

The government has finalised and agreed a legal instrument, Investment Stability Agreement (ISA), which gives investors added security.

The ISA outlines the guarantees offered by the government for the protection of property rights, ring fencing investments against expropriation and protecting investors against change in laws. In addition, it provides a framework for monetary and fiscal incentives unique to the medicinal cannabis sector.

The government also approved the establishment of the Green Industry Fund to promote local beneficiation, skills transfer and development of the local pharmaceutical industry.

Investors are expected to install smart technology on all medicinal cannabis production premises for security and monitoring purposes while all investments are administered through ZIDA’s OSISC which facilitates the licensing of all investments in medicinal cannabis.

The Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) will play a strategic role in facilitating and enabling a progressive regulatory environment to encourage the growth of the medicinal cannabis industry.

“The ISA complements SI 62 of 2018 (Dangerous Drugs Act) and we anticipate this will provide the comfort investors in this sector require,” MCAZ acting director general Richard Rukwata said.

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