The regulatory guidelines approved by the cabinet on October 12, 2020, provide a framework for investment in the production and processing of medical cannabis in Rwanda for export to growing global markets.
Rwanda Development Board (RDB) told Taarifa that four investors have already been preselected to grow this high-value therapeutic crop.
The names are yet to be announced, but RDB CEO, Clare Akamanzi told Taarifa that the companies are one American, one Israel, one South African and another from Netherlands.
The companies will have to follow all regulations including high-security programs that will facilitate and ensure the security of the crop and must be highly implemented to prevent the crop from being accessed by the domestic market.
The crop should be in a very designated place with CCTV cameras and watching towers (human security), Akamanzi said in an interview with RBA. She added that Rwanda is going to produce cannabis strictly for medicine abroad. There will be guidelines establishing quality standards, the requirements for licenses and permits, as well as strict security measures designed to prevent any illicit diversion or use of the product.
The whole process from planting materials, seeds cultivation, and how to handle post-harvesting will be subjected to strict guidelines.
RDB said in a statement on Tuesday that the investment framework with a procuring farm will not affect the legal status of cannabis consumption in Rwanda, which remains prohibited. Medical cannabis produced in Rwanda is solely for export markets, especially North America and Europe, Akamanzi insisted.
Rwanda is a signatory to all relevant UN conventions relating to narcotics and will continue to ensure full compliance with international law.
The guidelines establish quality standards, the requirements for licenses and permits, as well as strict security measures designed to prevent any illicit diversion or use of the product.
The Government of Rwanda expects the sector to generate significant export revenues and employment opportunities in high-value agriculture and agro-processing.
A special export levy will be introduced to incentivize domestic value addition and generate additional government revenue Rwanda development elaborated essential requirements first of all medicinal research has protocols around it and has to be done by people that are licensed she also said that the Rwanda Development Board set strict regulatory framework.
The new development has already triggered a debate on social media regarding the legalization of the consumption of cannabis products for recreational purposes.
Rwanda maintains some of the harshest penalties for illegal production, distribution, and consumption of cannabis under the law governing narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, and precursors, with fines ranging between Rwf500, 000 and Rwf5m and prison terms of between three to five years.
Rwanda will join African countries like Lesotho, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Morocco, and Uganda, among others, which are already cashing in on the multi-billion commercial cannabis industry.
Editor: The article has been edited.