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Meet the kingdom of medical cannabis cultivation in Lesotho

Lesotho, the Kingdom of Medical Cannabis has announced the first wave of international companies to grow medicinal cannabis in country for exporting purposes, a sign of the boom in medical cannabis projects in Africa.

WeGROW Cannabis Lesotho, a cultivator of medical cannabis – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabidiol products – is only able to sell and ship products to markets and customers who are legally entitled to receive products in their markets.

Therefore, according to Nitsan Nadel – the regional director of WeGROW, from Lesotho – THC medical cannabis output is generally bound for the EU and Australian markets, where medical cannabis is legal. The Southern Africa region — where Lesotho is located — is one of the best places in the world to grow all types of cannabis”, adds Nadel.

WeGROW Lesotho - Kingdom of Medical Cannabis
WeGROW Cannabis in Lesotho

Medical cannabis in Lesotho is regulated to similar standards as pharmaceuticals especially in Europe. Cultivation, processing, extraction, formulation requires rigorous thresholds of consumers safety. That requires a broad range of skills that we still need to develop at scale across Africa,” says Nadel.

“Lesotho, also known as the Kingdom of Medical Cannabis here, is a front runner in the legal African cannabis industry,” Nadel tells , especially taking into account the country’s liberal commercial cannabis rules. The rules are not just tied to commercial cultivation of weed. Nadel says Lesotho is one of the only three countries in the world to legalise manufacture, distribution, import, and export of both THC and CBD.

Lesotho’s geographical placement — one of the world’s highest countries above sea level — is perhaps the biggest ecological gift to its cannabis cultivation. In Lesotho, “fertile, clean soil, abundant water and clean air are a great climate for cannabis,” Nadel adds.

For WeGROW and his operations, a rich supply of sunshine across Lesotho is another sweetener.

Local impact

Lesotho’s medical cannabis industry has grown in many areas, last month, Lesotho became the first country in Africa to be granted a license by the European Union (EU) to export medical cannabis. WeGROW as one of the top Lesotho medical cannabis producers, is on the path to satisfy the EU’s good manufacturing thresholds to export cannabis flower, oil and extracts into the EU.

Jobs are scarce in Lesotho, explains Nadel, and the banker believes that young people across Lesotho are genuinely enthusiastic about the economic opportunity that the medical cannabis industry offers. The World Banks says unemployment in Lesotho remains high, at 22.5% of the population, according to 2019 statistics.

“This is something that can be scaled well once the model is fine-tuned and can be copied across Africa,” says Nadel, emphasising that rural goods and services economies — not just cities — are best suited for such models of agricultural investments.

“Here there is a skills transfer process that takes place and local growers, processors and operations learn how to run a local facility to international standards, something that is desperately needed if Africa is to compete at an international level,” she says.

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