Economists and activists have added a positive voice to the calls for the legalisation of Indian hemp, saying Malawi stands to benefit much if it starts growing industrial hemp.
Ntchisi North parliamentarian Boniface Kadzamira stood in Parliament last week—that Malawi should legalise the growing and usage of hemp, to beef up the national economy.
Kadzamira argues that Malawi stood to gain a great deal from cultivating the plant legally, a much-sought-after commodity on the world market.
The Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen), the Drug Fight Malawi have called for proper research on the proposal while prominent University of Malawi professor of economist, Ben Kalua, argues that industrial hemp fibres are used to manufacture a wide-range of items like textiles, cosmetics, specialised concrete applications and medicines.
He said industrial hemp has enormous potential as an agricultural crop, saying people don’t understand the economic benefits of industrial hemp because of the confusion caused with the illicit drug – Chamba or Marijuana.
Kalua, of Chancellor College in Zomba, said Malawi should grow the industrial hemp with a clear conscience.
“We are not the first to know about the uses of the product and, in fact, in the US the market was manipulated to outlaw hemp-related production by vested interests,” he said.
Mhen Executive Director Martha Kwataine has called for research on the issue on “whether the benefits will be more than the negatives.”
Kwataine also said although legalising Indian hemp can help to generate resources for the country, there is need to look into the cost of such a decision.
She said the hemp, which is cheap to grow, is a major contributor to people entering the country’s psychiatric hospitals.
“We may end up creating an environment where people are free to smoke Chamba and becoming mentally ill,” explained Kwataine.
Executive Director for Drug Fight Malawi Nelson Zakeyo called for evidence backed research, saying a lot of Malawians are abusing hemp as the cannabis drug.
But Kadzamira said he is promoting the non-narcotic herb.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :