Malawi’s parliament has composed a bill to legalize hemp for medicinal and industrial purposes. The East African country’s national assembly is expected to hear the bill soon. The move is an effort to boost the country’s economy.
Malawi’s tobacco exporting numbers have been declining and legalizing hemp could replace some of the financial loss, according to Quartz Africa. Tobacco prices have dropped to $1.58 per kilogram, with some dipping even lower to $0.80 per kilogram. Malawi has used figures from the U.S. to estimate how much revenue hemp could generate.
Parliament member Boniface Kadzamila said, “We needed to have jumped on this window already, as it has been proven on the international market that the crop is lucrative, so to legalize this crop will be very vital for Malawi.”
In the U.S., a 1-acre plot of land with 2,500 hemp plants on it can earn as much as $60,000. To put the crop difference in perspective, the same size plot of land of tobacco plants in Malawi sells for around $5,000.
Investor Graham MacKintosh said, “This crop has Cannabidiol oil, which is in high demand and it is estimated that in the next three years the CBD oil we extract from the crop is poised to grow at over 700%.”
Malawi looks to join Lesotho, Morocco, South Africa and Zimbabwe in moving to legalize marijuana and/or hemp.