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Cannabis authority revises licence fees

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The Cannabis Regulatory Authority (CRA) Thursday announced a downward revision of license fee for registration and production of industrial hemp.

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

The new fee will be effected once approved by the board.

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Speaking during the 9th Ndizotheka Eminent Speaker series at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar), CRA Board Chairperson Kadzamira said this is in response to the public outcry that the current fee of $2000 is too exorbitant for an average Malawian.

He, however, said CRA will not tamper with the $10,000 license fee for production of medicinal hemp.

“We have discovered that industrial hemp is not as complex as medicinal. It must be treated as an agricultural plant of course we would still need to put some control measures in place. This is a crop where most farmers can participate without challenges, “he said.

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He said given a chance, the authority could have completely removed the fees but it remains a control measure.

Speaking during a panel discussion on operationalising Cannabis Industry for Malawi’s Economic Growth, Kadzamira added that there is need to put up infrastructure for laboratories.

Luanar Vice Chancellor Emmanuel Kaunda said higher learning institutions like Luanar would be a spring board in developing the industry through research and human development.

“We want to make a solid foundation for this industry. Luanar would make sure that it provides research and development so that the industry can be sustainable,” he said.

Research Fellow at Mwapata Institute Christone Nyondo said there is a need to make necessary investments in research and development, extension services to deal with the bottlenecks in the Cannabis industry.

Currently, about 70 companies and cooperatives have registered but only 11 of them are kicking off production.

Some of the Companies that have started production include Golden farm in Chikangawa and Women of Vision in Mchinji.

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.

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