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Malawi Passes Cannabis Bill Allowing ‘Chamba’ to be Grown Despite Stiff Opposition from Justice Minister and House Speaker

Malawi Passes Cannabis Bill Allowing ‘Chamba’ to be Grown Despite Stiff Opposition from Justice Minister and House Speaker

Nyasa Times

DPP walks out of Parliament concerned that legalization will lead to the nation’s moral decay, and then walks back in, despite there was no substance to their protestations that the Bill will lead to moral decay, but could earn the country US$700 million

This story first published by the Nyasa Times on 28 March 2024.

Malawi’s Parliament passed a Cannabis Regulations Amendment Bill on Thursday, 28 March 2024, which seeks to authorize the cultivation and production of local variety also known as Chamba.

The bill met a stiff opposition from other members of the House including Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo Banda, Minister of Justice Titus Mvalo and other members of DPP who proposed a reference back to the Legal Affairs Committee and other relevant committees.

The House witness DPP members briefly walking out of the chamber to protest against the bill when it was going into committee stage but they came back.

In his comment, Minister of Justice Titus Mvalo explained that government wanted the bill to be taken to local authorities for consultations as there have been some growing fears of assessment on mental health in the country.

Mvalo said, "We have been told by health experts that consumption of Chamba really cause mental health hence we need to do comprehensive consultations."

Then, Member of Mangochi South West Shadreck Namalomba concurred with minister to allow further consultations on the bill.

Namalomba persuaded, "We need to consult tradional and religious leaders because laws are made from traditions."

But mover of the motion MP for Lilongwe South Peter Dimba dismissed the Minister's idea to refer back the bill for more consultations and revealed that on Wednesday he met the minister and other committee members and it was agreed to pass the bill.

During winding up, Dimba emphasized that the is not any clause on the provisions of the bill which stipulates about cannabis to be used for recreation. He said if the bill operationized Malawi shall realize over $700 million yearly.

"It is of my conviction and my believe as a religious man, that this bill shall not affect anyone else. It is about making local people benefits and change our mind set." He added.

He therefore pleaded with the authorities to make licenses for cultivation of local variety to every one and ensure control of the practice.

In his comment, Member for Machinga North East Idi Kalosi supported the bill and gave an example that he has grown tobacco for over 30 years but none of his children have taken a smoke of cigarrate.

He alleges, "Those people trying to broke this bill are very rich than anyone else because of this crop, so let it people grow and share the benefits.


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