The Zimbabwean government this week published a licensing regime that will allow the legal cultivation of cannabis.

Growing mbanje, as bhang is commonly known in Zimbabwe, will be legal for research and medical use under the new regulations, Statutory Instrument 62 of 2018, “Dangerous Drugs – Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Scientific Use Regulations”.

Five-year licences will clear also clear growers to possess, transport and sell fresh cannabis, cannabis oil, and dried product.

The regulations impose an obligation on the government to consider the risk that dagga could be diverted to illicit use, complaints from police, or objections by local authorities.

Lesotho granted its first licenses for marijuana production in September last year, believed to be the first African country to do so.

A South African court ruling in March 2017 provides what is thought to be a viable defence against prosecution for private cultivation and use of dagga.