During the August elections, Zambia’s GREEN Party controversially campaigned for the legalisation of marijuana farming, as a cash crop, to boost Zambia’s much needed foreign exchange revenue.
The elections are over, but the debate continues.
“With a lot of arable land in Zambia, if government can legalise the farming of Cannabis, Zambia is surely bound to become one of the richest nations in the world,” said Wisdom Muyunda of Chingola, a town 600km north of Lusaka.
“Marijuana has a medicinal component found in nearly every drug administered daily [in the] world and farming it is cheaper than extracting mineral resources.”
Peter Sinkamba, leader of the Green Party, anchored his election campaign on a green economy driven by high value crop production. Sinkamba projected an annual income of more than US$36 billion from farming Cannabis. He said that government could establish high security state farms country-wide to grow export marijuana.
Muyunda, agreed and said: “There is a ready market for export as most states in the US have legalised marijuana, and more will do so with the coming into office of Donald Trump.”
Opponents are equally ferocious about the “dangers” of legalising Cannabis farming, while government remains mute on the topic.
“We have an increasing culture of narcotics abuse, especially [of] marijuana among our youth, and legalising it will only exacerbate the situation. Furthermore, it will distort the economics of farming where food crops may be abandoned in favour of growing Cannabis,” said Andrea Zulu, a farmer from Lusaka’s Nine Miles, named for its distance from the capital.