Though it is still illegal to use marijuana in Uganda, the government in its bid to claim a stake in the lucrative business and generate revenue has landed deals to export medical marijuana products to Canada and Germany to the tune of Shs600b ($160 million) in June.
This, however, is not the first time an export of such nature is happening as the Daily Monitor reports that the country exported unprocessed cannabis buds/ flowers to the National Analytical Forensic Services in South Africa in December 2017 in a $10,000 order made to the Industrial Hemp (Uganda) Ltd, a private company.
In partnership with an Israeli company by name Together Pharma Ltd, a director at Industrial Hemp (U) Ltd, Mr Benjamin Cadet, affirmed that they have received orders from about 20,000 pharmaceutical companies in Germany and Canada, the Daily Monitor further reports.
“We signed annual supply contracts with pharmacies in Canada to a tune of $100m (Shs371.8b) and €58m (Shs242.3b) for Germany…the current contracts run for 10 years but along the way, we shall expand to satisfy future demand,” Cadet said.
Marijuana, in several parts of the world, is being used to alleviate suffering from several illnesses including cancer, but the use of medical marijuana is still illegal in Uganda.
“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 yet 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 to do this but regulations are not in place to allow cannabis drugs manufactured for domestic consumption,” Cadet added.
Even though a section of Ugandans are against the use of cannabis with the First Lady Janet Museveni calling it “satanic”, a Cabinet sub-committee has been set up to explore and debate over the benefits of cultivating as well as using the plant for health purposes.
A Cabinet statement also released by the Ugandan Ministry of Health also confirmed they have received applications for licenses from companies to cultivate the plant.
“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 provisions of Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act 2015,” the statement read, according to SDE.