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Rwanda Passes Law On Using, Growing, Exporting Cannabis

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After consideration and approval by the Cabinet, in its meeting of October 12, 2020, the Rwandan parliament has passed a ministerial order providing for legal use, cultivation, processing and distribution of marijuana.

“The operations related to cultivation, distribution and use of cannabis and cannabis products are performed in private or public establishments that have been given a licence thereof from the competent authority and must be performed at the places of business of those establishments or at such other place as may be approved by the competent authority,” the law reads.

Eight types of licences, permits and certificate will be issued depending on what the investor is interested in across the value chain.

The licences and pwrmits include the cultivation licence; the import permit for seeds, genetic materials and other planting material; the export permit for seeds, genetic materials and other planting materials; and the cannabis products processing licence.

The others include; the cannabis products import permit; the cannabis products export permit; the finished cannabis products registration certificate and the research licence.

Each licence and permit is categorical and broken down to specific activities. Failure to comply amounts to heavy penalties.

For example, medical use of marijuana products can only be made on the condition that they are prescribed by a specialist medical doctor.

Meanwhile, the competent authority suspends a licence if the licence holder does not comply with provisions of the ministerial order and those of relevant laws or regulations.

The operator whose licence has been suspended may appeal to the competent authority within a period of one month from the date of notification of the decision of suspension of the licence.

An operator of activities related to cannabis and cannabis products who violates the licence conditions commits a fault.

Without prejudice to provisions of Article 18 and Article 19 of this order, the competent authority imposes on him or her an administrative fine of not less than Rwf1 miliin and not more than Rwf50 million

In case of recidivism, the administrative fine is doubled.

Each licence lasts five years, renewable.

Terms and conditions for some licences are stringent and too strict.

For instance, an operator of activities related to cannabis and cannabis products provides a security plan to the Rwanda National Police for approval.

The security plan indicates that at least the operator of activities related to cannabis and cannabis products must have a double layered fence.

The licensee must also hire a licensed private security service company, install security lighting; and video surveillance cameras, these are a few among many.

The Rwanda National Police shall conduct regular audits of the security plan.

The law has been published for public use.