Lesotho has launched its first Special Economic Zone (SEZ), the first in the world to include medicinal cannabis.
The Mafeteng Special Economic Zone was created to attract the leading private sector participants to develop a center of innovation for the agriculture and pharmaceutical industries. Bophelo is currently the only enterprise that is fully operating in the SEZ.
Lesotho’s PM launches SEZ
Lesotho’s Prime Minister, Dr Moeketse Majoro and six cabinet members visited Bophelo on 19 May 2021 where they met Louisa Mojela, Bophelo’s founder and now chairperson of its Toronto-based owners, Halo Collective. Halo founder Andreas Met has relocated from Canada to oversee Bophelo’s operations. It has ambitions of being the biggest medical cannabis cultivation facility in the world.
Lesotho’s Prime Minister takes a sniff of his country’s best medical cannabis
Met, who is now Bophelo’s MD of Managing Director of Bophelo said “It was a great honor to show our accomplishments—and specially to introduce our young Basotho leadership team, including Moeti Marai and Puleng Mabula. It’s incredible to be working hand-in-hand with a national government that shares our mission and fully supports the cultivation of medicinal cannabis as a key industry, understanding the huge positive impact cannabis can make in peoples’ lives as both a medicine and an economic driver wealth creation for the people of Lesotho.”
Halo and Bophelo are expected to receive both Good Manufactures Practices (“GMP”) and Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (“GACP”) certifications from the quality growing and manufacturing consultant, Pharmaconsulta Ltd., following multiple site visits and a comprehensive review of the company’s standard operating procedures. With the addition of these certifications, the company will be able to supply the European market with sun-grown quality cannabis and further invest in African economies and provide growing support for the people of these communities.
Lesotho Prime Minister pictured with Louisa Mojela, Executive Chairman of Halo, and Andreas Met, Managing Director of Bophelo and Co-Founder of Halo (CNW Group/Halo Collective Inc.)
Mojela said: “Bophelo is committed to developing young talent through the creation of much-needed jobs, transfer of skills, and enterprise development. I am personally committed to creating a company that has strong environmental, social and corporate governance (“ESG”) principles.”
CEO of Halo, Kiran Sidhu, states: “We have remained committed to building a strong relationship with Lesotho over the past few years, we have tried a lot of different cannabis strains over the past two years and gained valuable knowledge to be able to produce very profit-oriented cannabis flower on a large scale.”
Bophelo’s Lesotho Cultivation Facility
Sidhu continues: “We are thrilled to be a part of Lesotho’s economic growth and additionally to create work and learning opportunities for young people. This program will only grow with the GACP certification and remains our stated priority.”
Establishment of Lesotho’s First SEZ and the First in the World to Include Cannabis
Bophelo is the first cannabis business globally to be part of a special economic zone that brings significant benefits. SEZ is an area where the business and trade laws are different from the rest of the country, located within a country’s national borders aiming to increase trade balance, employment, investment, job creation, and effective administration. To encourage businesses to set up in the zone, financial policies are introduced. These policies typically encompass investing, taxation trading, quotas, customs, and labor regulation. Additionally, companies may be offered tax holidays, where upon establishing themselves in a zone, they are granted a period of lower taxation.
Close-up of Bophelo’s latest harvest of DNA Genetics; Chocolope (CNW Group/Halo Collective Inc.)
About Bophelo Bioscience & Wellness (Pty) Ltd.
Bophelo is based in the Kingdom of Lesotho, Southern Africa, and is the holder of one of a limited number of licenses issued in Lesotho for the production of medicinal cannabis products. Situated 70 kilometers from the capital city of Maseru, Bophelo’s operating site is an ideal location with ample labor, free water, flat land area, and low crime rates. The favorable high altitude and low humidity climate provide clean and organic growing conditions within the mountainous region. With the motto “Sechaba se tlisa lerou” translated in English, meaning community brings wealth, Bophelo highlights the value of community and empowerment of the Basotho people, focusing on the development of women and youth. Bophelo is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Halo.
For more information about Bophelo, please visit www.bophelo-bioscience.com
About Halo Collective Inc.
Halo is a leading, vertically integrated cannabis company that cultivates, extracts, manufactures, and distributes quality cannabis flower, oils, and concentrates and has sold approximately nine million grams of oils and concentrates since inception. Halo continues to evolve its business and scale efficiently, partnering with trustworthy leaders in the industry, who value the Company’s operational expertise in bringing top-tier products to market. Current growth includes expansion in key U.S. markets, the United Kingdom and Africa, with planned expansion into the Canadian retail market.
Halo is led by a strong, diverse, and innovative management team with deep industry knowledge and blue-chip experience. The Company is currently operating in the United States in California and Oregon. The Company sells cannabis products principally to dispensaries under its brands, Hush, Mojave, and Exhale, and under partnership or license with OG DNA Genetics, Terphogz and FlowerShop*, a cannabis lifestyle and conceptual wellness brand in which G-Eazy is a partner and key member of FlowerShop*.
As part of continued expansion and vertical integration in the U.S., Halo boasts several grow operations throughout Oregon and California. In Oregon, the Company has a combined 9 acres of outdoor cultivation, including East Evans Creek, a six-acre grow site in Jackson County, Blue Sky Farms, a two acre grow site located in Jackson County and Winberry Farms, a one-acre grow site located 30 miles outside Eugene in Lane County. In California, the Company is building out Ukiah Ventures; a planned 30,000-square-foot indoor grow and cannabis processing facility including up to an additional five acres of industrial land to expand this indoor grow site. Recently, Halo partnered with Green Matter Holding to purchase Bar X Farm in Lake County, developing up to 80 acres of cultivation which would comprise the largest grow in California.
Internationally, the Company’s subsidiary Bophelo is currently cultivating medicinal cannabis in Lesotho. Once fully built out, Halo believes Bophelo to be one of the largest licensed marijuana cultivation sites in the world with a future capacity of up to 495 acres. To further Halo’s global presence, the Company has recently acquired CBPM importation and distribution licensing in the United Kingdom via medical cannabis suppliers Canmart. Halo expects the cultivation and manufacturing operations of Bophelo, combined with the importation and distribution capabilities of Canmart, to drive a well-positioned business to serve the U.K. market.
The Company also has acquired a range of software development assets, including technology platforms CannPOS, Cannalift, and, more recently, CannaFeels. Halo also owns the discrete sublingual dosing technology, Accudab. The Company intends to spin-off these assets along with its intellectual property and patent applications into its subsidiary Halo Tek Inc. and complete a distribution to shareholders on a record date to be determined by Halo.