The Green Party, led by one of Zambia’s deep thinkers, Peter Sinkamba is about to be finally vindicated after the minister of health, Chitalu Chilufya announced that Zambia will begin stakeholders consultations on the possibility of legalizing the medical and controlled cultivation and use of a potent herb, marijauna.
In an exclusive interview with the Zambian Business Times – ZBT, the Zambian politician cum businessman – Peter Sinkamba, who set up the Green Party some years back, said that ‘marijuana is not only used by people to go “high” as perceived by some quarters, including the government, the hemp has multiple uses like making fuel, fibre, paper, food and medicine, qualities which set it apart when compared with more other other plants.
The Green party president confirmed that he began to put out his message on the proper and economical use of Marijuana in the year 2013, so this message has been consistent for about 5 years’. And it seems this is the only time it has gotten to the government. Sinkamba further disclosed that the hemp can be used to manufacture other products like bio diesel, cosmetics, clothing etc.
The Green Party has models which it has developed that are ready to be put into action, said Sikamba. Currently, the leading legalized cultivating and trade suppliers include State of Colorado – USA, Netherlands, Canada, and Israe. They are the leading suppliers of medicinal marijuana because they have legalized the cultivation and use ─ either for medicinal purposes, recreational or both. The market for medicinal marijuana runs in billions of dollars.
He stated that the Green Party has a well crafted and thought out plan to legalise production of medicinal marijuana and industrial hemp in high security zones, where security systems shall be tighted. The people who are going to work in the zoned farms shall work as cooperatives under the Zambia National Service (ZNS).
Sinkamba’s party plans aims to, in the first year, facilitate the cultivation of between 300 and 500 tonnes. “We anticipate earning the country between US$3billion and US$5billion (the market price of medicinal marijuana to the end user is dictated by Colorado and Netherlands, and stands at about 8 euros per gram (€8/g) or (US$9.4/g). Harnessing this potential can go a long way in terms of contribution to GDP and reduction of souring external debt as well as salvage the value of the local unit, the Kwacha.
In the second year of legalization, the party plans projects trebling (3X) the production so that the country can earn not less than US$36 billion per annum going forward. “We anticipate that ZNS would employee on permanent basis, between 800,000 and 1,000,000 youths on the marijuana farms and marijuana industries countrywide, said Sinkamba.
Sinkamba who has previously contested presidential polls said the Zambian government will fail if they go on with the plans without consulting the Green Party because they know better, its their brain child. “if the government wants to successfully implement this , they must come to us the Green Party and we will tell them how to go about it because it is our idea and we have structured it out, we have invested in knowing how it should be done and only us can implement it properly. If the government does not consult us, it will fail because Green party is the originator of the whole idea”, said Sinkamba
Meanwhile, various stakeholders have welcomed government plans to explore cultivation of marijuana for medical and other controlled purposes. A multi- sectorial stakeholder team will conduct a research in countries where the process has worked to ensure that there are no loopholes allowing for the recreational use of marijuana.
And an earlier statement from the Zambia Medical Association president Abidan Chansa seen by ZBT, stated that Zambia has agencies like the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority which can be mandated to regulate the medicinal use marijuana. He urged the government not to look back on this and to also put in place mechanisms to ensure that the country enjoys the full economic and health benefits of marijuana.
If Zambia opts to legalize Marijuana, it will become the first country in Africa to do so and may just be able to capture the first mover advantage. Do you think this plan can deliver for Zambia? Will Peter Chazya Sinkamba and the Green Party be vindicated? The verdict is still being awaited.