Come June this year, Uganda will begin exporting medical marijuana products to Canada and Germany worth Shs600 billion ($5.91 billion).
According to the Ugandan government, the lucrative marijuana business which is estimated at Sh11.1 trillion will benefit the country by creating employment opportunities, generating taxes, technology transfer, investment opportunities and trade surplus, among others.
This is not the first time the East African country would be exporting marijuana, locally referred to as bhang. In 2017, Uganda exported unrefined cannabis buds/flowers to South Africa’s National Analytical Forensic Services in Pretoria.
Government entities with connections to already established companies in Europe and North America would be involved in licensing the entire chain. They include the ministries of Health, Agriculture, Justice and Constitutional Affairs and Internal Affairs; the National Drug Authority (NDA) and Uganda Investment Authority (UIA).
However, a private Ugandan company, Industrial Hemp Uganda Ltd is the only local entity that has so far been authorized to undertake activities related to the growing and processing of medical marijuana and cannabis products alongside Sativa for industrial purposes in Uganda under the supervision of the Ministry of Health.
Uganda’s marijuana which would be exported from a farm in Kasese District include Cannabinol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with a mixture of 2.7mg THC and 2.5mg CBD for Sativex drugs approved in USA, Europe and Canada. Oil Risin contain Dronabinol for making Marinol and syndros capsules and CBD-enriched creams for various skin disorders.
The Health Ministry noted that, “As much as the area of cannabis cultivation and extraction on an industrial scale is new in Uganda, stringent measures are in place to 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.”
Industrial Hemp Uganda is in partnership with an Israeli company, Together Pharma Limited which has commercial contracts signed for supplies in excess of $350 million annually to European Union countries, specifically Germany and Canada in North America.