The government of Malawi has approved plans to legally grow industrial hemp for export on a trial basis.
Industrial hemp refers to, “the non-psychoactive (less than 1% THC) varieties of Cannabis Sativa L. Both hemp and marijuana come from the same cannabis species, but are genetically distinct and are further distinguished by use, chemical makeup, and cultivation methods”.
The approval of hemp has naturally ignited debate in Malawi because of the crop’s close relationship with marijuana.
The country’s Minister of Agriculture, Allan Chiyembekeza has had to defend the approval reportedly saying: “Let me point out that industrial hemp is different from the much talked Indian hemp chamba or Cannabis Sativa] that is prohibited. This [industrial] hemp does not contain the psychoactive chemical elements that affect people when smoked even though it is from the same family of crops,” reportedly said.
According to Malawi Nation, Chiyembekeza said if the trials are successful, industrial hemp will be another source of foreign exchange earnings and support the country’s National Export Strategy.
Industrial hemp has various uses, which include the manufacturing of paper, clothing, fibre, medicine and food products, amongst others.
Source: Malawi Nation