Commander Solochi, the general in charge of national service in the Zambian army, said in late February that his forces would acquire land in several provinces across the country to cultivate medical cannabis, with planting expected to begin in March.
More than 3,000 jobs are expected to be created through this new industry, supported for traditional chiefs, land custodians in Zambia, who have ‘agreed’ to freely cede some of their land for the deployment of cannabis.
Cannabis in Zambia
Zambia, unlike its neighbours, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Lesotho, is one of the African countries that is taking its time to commit to the legalization of medical cannabis, or at least its cultivation and of its export of cannabis. Medical cannabis is banned for Zambians but the country, like the UK until recently, allows its cultivation and export.
“Zambia has some of the most ecologically rich soils in Africa and, given the massive size of the country, dense virgin lands which, on paper, are fantastic for top quality cannabis. It is a mystery that Zambia has so far been absent from all the cannabis deals struck in Lesotho, South Africa, Malawi or Zimbabwe,” says analyst Dennis Juru of the South Africa International Cross Borders Traders Association.
According to local feedback, so far the Zambian parliament has only “approved the publication and introduction of a bill in parliament for the legalization of cannabis cultivation”.
“Zambia sees cannabis as a security crop, hence the army’s decision to preempt legalization to seize cannabis land,” says Deogracias Kalima, freelance ecology editor for the magazine. Unsustainable and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in neighboring Malawi, where Mike Tyson has been appointed cannabis ambassador.
Zambia is not the only country in the region that appears to be weaponizing cannabis. Its southern neighbor Zimbabwe, which legalized cannabis as early as 2018, is also a place where cannabis has been weaponized. First, the Zimbabwe Police and Prisons Service, which are heavily militarized organs of the state, in 2019 obtained the first licenses to cultivate cannabis plantations on prison sites for export.
“Zambia’s military, like that of neighboring Zimbabwe, is the ultimate ‘deep state’. She clearly observed the tendency of neighboring Zimbabwe to partially militarize lucrative cannabis deals and thought, “Why can’t we do the same here? » explains Kalima
“Securing cannabis, I think is cannabis policy poor enough to build a weed industry.”
It will be remembered that the Italian army had also started to cultivate medical cannabis, with catastrophic results in terms of quantity and quality, which had prompted the Italian government to open up cultivation to the private sector.