Tanzania is breaking ranks with its East African neighbours by intensifying its onslaught against the cannabis industry, despite earlier hints at reform. In February 2021, Tanzanian authorities said they were working on a cannabis framework and that investors were keen.
However, the Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Coordination, Parliament, Labour, Youth, Employment and the Disabled), Tixon Nzunda, has declared war on drugs. The Daily News (24 July 2021) reported that he “called on government leaders, citizens and non-governmental organisations to jointly declare war on farmers, consumers and distributors of cannabis sativa, and that the war would be sustained to continue to make the nation safer and to avoid the effects of such drugs”.
Cannabis use rising but DCEA gets a prize!
Cannabis consumption rising in the east African country which has become a narco-hub for international trafficking. Although cannabis consumption has been rising, the Tanzanian government awarded its Tanzania Drugs Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA) a prize for being the “best institution” in the country.
Nzunda said the DCEA achieved “90% performance”, and told its officials in Dar es Salaam: “I have recently been informed that there is (correctional and rehab) infrastructure under construction in Tanga, Mbeya and Arusha. I believe the infrastructure will build friendships with drug users and they will be treated as human beings in order to ensure their return to society.”
He called on the media and other organizations to keep cannabis away from “penetrating” Tanzanian society.
Tanzanian clampdown against the regional trend
Tanzanian police discovered seven hectares of cannabis in an anti-narcotics crackdown conducted on 20 July 21, according to Africa Live. Authorities say the cannabis farms were located in Mangalanganda forest in Namkongo village in the country’s southern region.
Police arrested five suspects they believe owned the cannabis farms.
The clampdown comes despite calls from Tanzanian opposition leaders to legalize medicinal cannabis or hemp. Its neighbours, Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi have gone down that route and are integrating CBD into their health systems.