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Uganda marijuana firm exports 400kg to Germany, eyes local market

Thursday October 21 2021
Medical Cannabis.

Uganda has only one licensed firm that grows and exports medical marijuana. FILE PHOTO | NMG

By DAILY MONITOR

Uganda has exported 400 kilogrammes of medical marijuana to Germany, the fourth delivery to foreign countries since the government permitted the business in the country.

A kilogramme of medical cannabis, a product used to control pain in patients with terminal illnesses such as cancer, costs around Ush18 million ($5,006), according to a German-based training institution on good manufacturing practices for health products makers on its www.gmp-compliance.org website.

Industrial Hemp Uganda, a private firm licenced to grow and process medical cannabis, said it exported the marijuana on October 16.

Benjamin Cadet, a director at the company, said they have the capacity to produce 30 tonnes of medical marijuana annually but that Covid-19 has been affecting their business.

Mr Cadet said they are also seeking approval to sell some of their products in the Ugandan market, saying it would make the country a global tourism hub for medical cannabis.

“We have developed 10 products of medical cannabis that we have submitted to National Drug Authority (NDA) for approval so that Ugandan patients can benefit other than exporting to other countries,” he told Daily Monitor, adding that they are yet to receive a response.

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“The medical cannabis industry is good for the country’s economy and will make Uganda be one of the best medical cannabis producers in the world,” he said.

But Dr David Nahamya, the NDA boss, said he would verify whether the company submitted the said products for approval. 

“We have the capacity to assess and approve the [medical cannabis] products if they are drugs,” he said. He had not responded by press time.

The company had in March 2020 exported 600 kilogrammes of medical marijuana to Israel and another 1.7 tonnes to the same country in January this year.

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 2015, allows cultivation, production and exportation of medical marijuana and mandates the Health minister to issue written consent for medical marijuana.

The government has only licensed Industrial Hemp despite more than 20 companies applying for permits to join the lucrative business.

Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Health ministry spokesperson, said discussions are ongoing on whether to licence more companies.

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