On the move in Lesotho: Africa’s pioneer when it comes to cannabis For once, the spotlight is not on its big brother, South Africa, but on Lesotho itself: In 2017, this small country legalised medicinal cannabis, making it the first place in Africa to do so! Cannabis News Network took a quick look around this beautiful but poor country and found that not very much had really changed since the legalisation.
Stretching from its capital city of Maseru in the west, and the Drakensberg mountains in the East, Lesotho welcomes visitors with stunning mountain landscapes. As the only country in the world that is entirely above 1,000 m, it is for good reason that Lesotho is known as the kingdom on the roof of Africa.
Alongside the beauty of the landscape, the other thing that leaps out at you is the poverty. Almost half the population has to try to live on just over USD 1.00 per day. Life expectancy is one of the lowest in the world, HIV and Aids remain huge problems.
Growing cannabis in Lesotho
Cannabis has a special status in Lesotho. Since ancient times, it has formed an integral part of the tribal culture, something that its cultural and social acceptance fully reflects. This was the case even before legalisation.
For many farmers in this country, cannabis is the only agricultural product that allows them to earn cash. Many of them were hoping their lives would improve thanks to legalisation, but that never happened.
The legal cultivation of cannabis is limited to two foreign companies. It is a pity and repugnant that the population of Lesotho will not be profiting from the new, legalised market. This trend is unfortunately also showing its face in other parts of the world, as is shown in a three-part report on Cannabis News Network from Colombia.
Chris Ranthini, a young climate activist, sums up the problem in clear terms: “We should not have black laws for some people and white laws for other people. If it is legal to grow cannabis in Lesotho, then let the small farmers grow it.”