Phiwayinkosi Mabuza, Swaziland’s Housing and Urban Development Minister says the country should raise taxes and legalise marijuana to develop the economy, APA reports.

Mabuza, a parliamentarian for Mhlambanyatsi constituency reportedly said the government needs to decriminalise marijuana and explore its economic benefits to increase the country’s revenue.

“First world countries have decriminalised the growing and use of dagga. We have to be objective and not hysterical when we approach the subject,” Mabuza said.

Mabuza, added that the country was losing out on potential revenue by not utilising the widely grown but illegal crop.

Swazi Gold, a highly potent and valuable strain of marijuana, is sought after in South Africa's drug market. Photo: Jonathan Torgovnik/ New York Times

Swazi Gold, a highly potent and valuable strain of marijuana, is sought after in South Africa’s drug market. Photo: Jonathan Torgovnik/ New York Times

Campaigners have been pushing for the legalisation of cannabis in Swaziland, which is illegally grown by some of the country’s poorest, making their living by selling the crop.

The country has been debating the legalisation of marijuana. Recently, the National Commissioner of Police Isaac Magagula, called on the government to do a study on the legalisation of dagga.

“We would recommend that a proper research and/or study be conducted by the relevant ministry on the desirability or otherwise of legalising the drug, as this line of thought has huge implications and challenges in the international law enforcement perspective and control of drug and substance abuse,” Magagula said.

Other countries in Africa have mooted plans to decriminalise cannabis and industrial hemp. Malawi’s Minister of Agriculture, Allan Chiyembekeza last month said the country approved plans to grow industrial hemp for export on a trial basis and defended the plans because of the crop’s close relationship with marijuana.

Industrial hemp has various uses, which include the manufacturing of paper, clothing, fibre, medicine and food products, amongst others.

Source: APA