The Botswana High Court has upheld Fresh Standard’s exclusive rights to produce industrial hemp and medical cannabis in the country.
The Gaborone-based company initially received its license in October 2018, through a cultivation exemption issued directly by the Ministry of Agriculture. However, a few months later, on May 7, 2019, the Botswana Police Narcotics Unit raided the cannabis farm and uprooted the plants.
Barend de Beer, the owner of the farm, later learned that his license had been withdrawn by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture. He then went to the Botswana courts arguing that he had a valid license for his business, which was the supply of hemp oil and medical by-products.
In finally granting Fresh Standard permission to continue in business, the Botswana High Court judge noted that the permanent secretary had acted outside his jurisdiction.
“The minister has never delegated his powers to the permanent secretary, or to any other person for that matter, because these are not delegable,” the judgment reads.
During the trial, the then Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Patrick Ralotsia, said he had not revoked the license. In fact, he rejected the permanent secretary’s intention to ask Fresh Standard to suspend operations pending the establishment of a multi-varied committee to conduct consultations.
“I conclude as a fact that the Minister never withdrew the exemption. The Letter of Exemption is declared to constitute a valid and legal exemption under Section 20 of the PPA. The defendant is liable to pay the costs of this request, including the costs of the lead attorney,” Judge Gabanagae said.
Zambia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana are among the African countries that allow the cultivation of cannabis as a commercial crop. legal.