Cannabis bill’s passage in Malawi should boost hemp fortunes

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In a landmark ruling, the parliament of Malawi approved the Cannabis Regulation Bill, which legalizes the cultivation, processing and marketing of industrial hemp, setting the allowable THC level at a full 1.0% – thereby joining a global trend. The bill was widely backed by legislators who hope it will spur economic growth in the country.

For Malawi’s Invegrow, which has been lobbying for industrial hemp since 2013, the bill’s approval feels like a personal victory. “This Bill is a dream come true for us.” CEO Tanya Clarke told HempToday. “Now begins the real work.” Her company has been running trials since 2015 using low-THC (max 1.0%) varieties, working hand-in-hand with government to evaluate the feasibility of Malawian industrial hemp.

“It’s been slow and steady, but government is taking a logical and practical approach to the plant and the industry. The Bill and Regulations seem to be prudently using the experience from our trials to guide their policy” Clarke said.

THC level set at 1%

The traditionally conservative republic joined an increasing number of countries in setting a THC limit of a full 1%, for increased access to suitable and well-performing, but non-EU certified varieties and a more accessible industrial hemp program. Invegrow has been evaluating many of these varieties, investigating their agronomy and performance, but also investing in R&D for diverse hemp products that exploit the stalks, fiber and hurds, as well as the plant’s seeds and flowers. 

“Developing a responsible, inclusive industry for Malawians is going to be key, as well as value-adding as much as possible,” Clarke said. “This is a largely agricultural economy that relies heavily on tobacco. Industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis can help people here – and the country’s fortunes”

– Arne Verhoef

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