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Authority upbeat on cannabis exports

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Cannabis Regulatory Authority (CRA) has said the country would start exporting cannabis next month, having secured markets for the product.

Only two companies are reportedly ready to start exporting the commodity.

CRA Director General Ketulo Salipira said in an interview that two companies, whose names he did not disclose, have assured the body of their readiness for the trade.

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However, Salipira said the country has been sending cannabis to other countries on trial basis, adding that growers have been researching on the preferable product.

He said while the samples might be of large quantity, they are not beneficial to the country’s economy because they could not be considered as products with economic value.

“No company has been exporting yet because most of them have been sending samples for verification purposes.

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“Buyers have their own demands and requirements but we expect that, by the end of October, probably one or two companies may have started exporting. And, then, we will have an idea on how much has been produced, sold and the value,” Salipira said.

He urged farmers to build a strong knowledge base on production needs and demands while conducting market research.

Parliament enacted the Cannabis Act in February 2020, after seven years of attempts to get it up and running. In April 2020, the bill was assented to and in September 2020 the Cannabis Regulatory Authority was formulated.

Recently, CRA Board Chairperson Boniface Kadzamira said the authority was in talks with public universities to consider including cannabis farming programmes in their school curricula.

Kadzamira said putting cannabis farming into university curricula would help the country maximise benefits of the crop because people will be learning the farming just like tobacco and other crops.

Last year, CRA issued 86 licences to 35 companies and cooperatives to venture into cannabis cultivation for industrial hemp production.

Two weeks ago, the authority announced a downward revision of license fees for registration and production of industrial hemp.

Application fees for industrial hemp licences are pegged at $2,000 while licence fee to cultivate, process and sell medicinal cannabis was set at $10,000.

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