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Lesotho medical cannabis industry sparks high hopes

High in the mountains of Lesotho, a green revolution is growing. The tiny mountain kingdom, which is surrounded on all sides by South Africa, made history in 2017 by being the first African country to issue licenses for the production of medical cannabis.

Cannabis is not new to Lesotho — it’s been used for centuries for medicine and recreation. The area’s high elevation, low humidity and abundant arable land make it an ideal place to grow. Cannabis in Lesotho is rapidly growing industry, mainly to export cannabis from Africa.

But by issuing production licenses, Lesotho’s government has thrown open the door for a new industry — and brought in millions of dollars from foreign investors.

WeGROW Cannabis in Lesotho, one of the top five local producers, built a $5 million USD facility in the hills of Maseru. It employs over 75 people, many from the local area, where unemployment is sky-high.

Regional director, Nitsan Nadel says this is more than just a pipe dream. He believes that the fledgling cannabis industry can bring great value to Lesotho — if it’s done right.

“This is a medicinal product that we are creating here, and our company has various brands in development,” she said. “Some of them are for sale in South Africa at the moment. We are moving into the Germany and France … in the near future. We will start exporting to Australia, and we are in the process of getting our extraction facility and our growing facility GMP certified, EU GMP certified,” Nadel added, referring to the Good Manufacturing Practice certification.

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