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King Kong Secures Rwanda’s First Medical Cannabis Export License

King Kong Secures Rwanda’s First Medical Cannabis Export License

King Kong Organics (KKOG Rwanda) has become the first local company to secure a 5-year license to cultivate cannabis for medicinal purposes, extraction, and export various medicinal products in the central African country.

Belise Umuhoza

25 March 2024 at 12:00:00

This report first appeared in the New Times on 18 March 2024.

KKOG Rwanda is a subsidiary of KKOG GLOBAL. -a US corporation incorporated under the laws of the State of California, United States, whose mission is to become the market-leader in medical cannabis cultivation on the African continent.

The company capitalizes on its ability to cultivate world-class organic medical cannabis and develop industry-leading growing, propagation and crop selection techniques. With a focus on the African continent, KKOG Inc. has developed key partnerships and global distribution channels alongside a unique local community development model that allows for capacity building and economic growth opportunities.

Its operations are spread across African countries including Rwanda- where the company assisted the Government of Rwanda (GoR) in its framework, but also commenced the construction of Rwanda's first cannabis facility on 5-hectares in Musanze district-which is scheduled to be completed in May 2024.

"The facility will be the first of its kind with extraction and research components as well as cannabis end product development. There are plans to begin distillation to create the first cannabis infused liquors at the facility in 2025," said Rene Joseph, the Founder and CEO of KKOG Rwanda.

In 2010, the Ministry of Health proposed a law to allow cannabis to be used for medical purposes in the country.

In 2021, Rwanda passed an order making cannabis legal for medicinal purposes.

Although Rwanda legalized medical marijuana, recreational cannabis uses and sales remain illegal in the country and the Rwandan government enforces strict penalties for the illicit production, distribution, and consumption of cannabis.

For instance, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) said that they will ensure that in no way the cannabis growth can leak out of the farm to go to the domestic market or to the wrong users. RDB stated that the cannabis crops will be in a designated place, and there will be very strong measures, whether it is CCTV cameras, watch towers, street lights, and human security- meaning that the process involved will extremely secure.

RDB says the legalization of cannabis for medical use doesn't affect the legal framework of the country but considers cannabis production as a top investment opportunity as global cannabis production were projected to grow from $28.3 billion raked in 2021, to $197.7 billion in 2028 at a compound annual growth rate of 32 percent.

RDB has projected that Rwanda can attract at least Rwf19 billion (about $17.5 million) investment in the production of cannabis for export and KKOG has invested $10 million since coming to the local market to unlock this potential.

KKOG CEO, Joseph says he commends the government for embracing the economic potential of medicinal cannabis, the decision not only opens doors for exponential job growth but also signifies a progressive approach towards expanding Rwanda's GDP.

"I extend my sincere gratitude to all parties involved. The Government of Rwanda has been integral in pioneering this legislation, we recognize their foresight and dedication to fostering growth and innovation," Joseph said in a statement.

"I would be remiss to not mention the efforts of RDB staff of whom without their assistance and direction this endeavor would not have been as smooth and clear today," he noted. There are others companies in Rwanda who already have "provisional license" to do the same but in order to get an actual license, the companies are required to purchase the land and build a facility on it just as KKOG - which is the only one to do so far.

Access to markets and scalability

KKOG is the largest licensed company in Africa with other multiple cannabis extraction facilities on the continent: 1000 hectares in DR Congo, 500 hectares in Zimbabwe as well as a extraction and research factory in Masasa in Harare, 200 hectare farm and seedbank in Malawi, 140 hectares in South Africa; as well as a presence in Lesotho, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Tanzania among others.

KKOG says it has committed to fulfil its objectives to empower and train small and commercial farmers in financing their desire to enter the sector as well as be their exclusive Off-taker, thus sowing the seeds of financial prosperity for all.


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