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Zambia’s Green Party Calls for a Halt to New Cannabis Development; Wants More Consultation

New government promised consultation but there hasn’t been any

Zambia’s new government says it is engaging cannabis stakeholders to get their input on how the new cannabis sector should be developed. However, it appears to be going ahead with select cultivation plans that have already caused a public outcry.

Hakainde Hichilema’s United Party for National Development (UPND) defeated incumbent Edgar Lungu’s of the Patriotic Front just three months after new cannabis legislation was passed. It promised widespread engagement within the cannabis industry, however Peter Sikamba, head of the Green Party, says there has been none and has called on government to halt its cannabis plans until there is broader consultation,

The Lusaka Times reported in January that the Permanent Secretary for Technical Services in the Ministry of Health, Professor Lackson Kasonka as saying the previous government had driven the Bill and that the new government still had to familiarize itself with the situation “to see if the mood was any different”.

 

Youth development programme says it has 60 ha of land for cannabis planting

Prof Kasonka said there would be widespread consultation and that Zambia wanted to learn from the experience of other countries. 

However, Sinkamba, said there’d been no talks and Government had already chosen some districts as hemp cultivation sites to the exclusion of others. He said the Zambia National Service needed to explain why it chose some areas for planned cannabis cultivation and not others.

He was responding to news in the last week that the Zambia National Service (ZNS), a youth employment programme, has acquired 60 ha of land in Kapompo District of North West Province to cultivate cannabis. The ZNS said it was to set up three cannabis plantations this year which it said would create over three thousand jobs for young people.

Sinkamba called on the Zambia National Service to suspend plans of setting up cannabis cultivation plantations this year until thorough consultations are done.

Mr. Sinkamba said that failure by ZNS to engage various stakeholders may result in the project not yielding desired results, adding that there is a need for ZNS to explain how they settled on three Districts to establish farms to the exclusion of others.

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