Kenya’s National Assembly Hears Call to Legalize Marijuana
A commercial agriculture company in Kenya has sent the country’s National Assembly a letter requesting the legalization of marijuana.
In the letter, biochemist and CEO of Hyaquip Inc International, Simon Mwaura, told half of Kenya’s legislative branch of government they should do away with the country’s current marijuana laws that outlaw the plant. In the letter, he argued that legalizing “bhang” — Kenyan slang for cannabis — would lead to economic recovery and wellness products being made widely available for Kenyans.
“The government should give license to the farmers to grow the important commodity to allow many residents grappling with immune deficiencies to recover and enjoy their lives,” Mwaura said in the letter. “This will also create job opportunities to our youths who will be involved in the all the processes in the farming and from my company, which will buy all the bhang.”
Mwaura’s plan entails licensing some 150,000 farmers in Kenya to grow marijuana. The plan also calls for each of these cultivators to be allowed to grow one acre of cannabis, which is an insane amount of pot. Back at last year’s Emerald Cup, I had the opportunity to chat with legendary breeder DJ Short, father of the Blueberry strain that found its way into things like Blue Dream and a boatload of others. DJ specifically went over the possibilities of what someone could do with an acre in the U.S. market.
“It’s looking like the price is going to stabilize around a buck a gram. So still with an acre you’re talking about $1 million worth of biomass,” said DJ Short.
According to the Kenyan newspaper Daily Nation, one kilo of cannabis in the country currently costs in the range of about 1000 Shillings or about $9.70 in U.S. dollars. So while U.S. farmers prepare for a crashing price-per-gram, Kenya’s (illegal) cultivators are already making less than a penny. The 150,000 acres that Mwaura has proposed could produce up to 187,500 metric tons of marijuana. This would equal out to about 8.5 pounds of marijuana per man, woman and child if you apply the data against numbers used in a 2010 Rand study looking at the costs of marijuana cultivation in multiple settings.
Africa’s west coast, home to Morocco, has always owned a place in international pot fame. But the further south from the Mediterranean you get, the fewer cannabis accolades you might presume. That’s simply not the case, according to a report on drug use in Kenyan schools from 2014. In the report, it’s noted Africa is no longer just a transit territory for illegal drugs but also a major production area with countries like South Africa, Lesotho, Morocco and Uganda producing 25 percent of the marijuana produced globally. The report also pointed to documented evidence that Kenya is one of the top countries in African marijuana production. The nation’s major marijuana-producing areas are in the Lake Victoria basin, along the Coast and around Mt. Kenya where the drug is mainly inter-cropped with corn and vegetables.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s 2016 World Drug Report, Kenyans cultivated about 133 hectares of marijuana in 2014. That year, authorities destroyed 5,801 cannabis plants at an undisclosed number of grow operations.