Following the passing of the National Pharmaceutical Product Pricing and Containment policy, which will pave way for the commercial production of Cannabis in Rwanda, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has shed more light on the implementation of the policy.
A statement by the RDB CEO Clare Akamanzi issued on Tuesday provided more details on the Framework for the Production of Medical Cannabis for Export, emphasizing what was earlier revealed by the Minister of Health, Dr. Daniel Ngamije, that production will be strictly for export 100 percent.
“The regulatory guidelines approved by Cabinet on 12 October 2020 provide a framework for investment in the production and processing of medical cannabis in Rwanda for export to growing global markets,”
“Rwanda will begin to receive applications for licenses from interested investors for this high-value therapeutic crop,” Akamanzi said in a statement.
The statement further says that the investment framework does not affect the legal status of cannabis consumption in Rwanda, which remains prohibited.
“Medical cannabis produced in Rwanda is solely for export markets. Rwanda is a signatory to all relevant UN conventions relating to narcotics, and will continue to ensure full compliance with international law,”
“The guidelines establish quality standards, the requirements for licenses and permits, as well as strict security measures designed to prevent any illicit diversion or use of the product,” the statement adds.
The new developments have already triggered a debate on social media regarding legalization of consumption of cannabis products for recreational purposes.
Rwanda maintains some of the harshest penalties for illegal production, distribution and consumption of cannabis under the law governing narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors, with fines ranging between Rwf500, 000 and Rwf5m and prison terms of between three to five years.
According to RDB, the Government of Rwanda expects the sector to generate significant export revenues and employment opportunities in high-value agriculture and agro-processing. A special export levy will be introduced to incentivize domestic value addition and generate additional government revenue.
Rwanda will join African countries like Lesotho, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Morocco and Uganda, among others, which are already cashing in on the multi-billion commercial cannabis industry.