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Is Weed Legal in Zambia? (April 2024)

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Yes, Zambia legalized cannabis in 2021. However, the production of marijuana in Zambia is strictly regulated, limited to exports and medical purposes exclusively.

About Zambia?

Zambia is a landlocked country located in southern Africa. Zambia is known for its stunning landscapes, including the famous Victoria Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in the world, located on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border. It is the world's second-largest producer of copper, contributing significantly to its economy. The country is also home to other minerals such as cobalt, emeralds, uranium, gold, and more.

Is Medical Cannabis Legal in Zambia?

The Ministry of Health will be responsible for issuing marijuana cultivation and trade licenses, while the oversight and enforcement of marijuana cultivation in Zambia will be carried out by the Zambia National Service.

To obtain a commercial license for marijuana cultivation and sales in Zambia, interested parties need to participate in a bidding process. Companies interested in trading marijuana in Zambia will be required to pay an annual license fee of $250,000.

Is Medical Cannabis Legal in Zambia?

The Ministry of Health will be responsible for issuing marijuana cultivation and trade licenses, while the oversight and enforcement of marijuana cultivation in Zambia will be carried out by the Zambia National Service.

To obtain a commercial license for marijuana cultivation and sales in Zambia, interested parties need to participate in a bidding process. Companies interested in trading marijuana in Zambia will be required to pay an annual license fee of $250,000.

Zambia has recently enacted two laws, namely the Cannabis Act, 2021, and the Industrial Hemp Act, 2021. These laws were established following a 2019 cabinet decision that aimed to permit the production and export of cannabis for medical and export purposes. The motivation behind this reform was to boost foreign exchange sources and address the country's fiscal deficit and growing debt burden.

The Cannabis Act in Zambia

The Cannabis Act allows for licensed activities such as the cultivation, manufacture, production, storage, distribution, import, and export of cannabis for medicinal, scientific, or research purposes. However, it does not cover cannabis plants with a THC concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis, which are regulated under the Industrial Hemp Act.

Licenses are valid for three years and may be renewed. The Lead Agency has the authority to suspend or revoke a license for various reasons, including breaches of license conditions, fraud, disqualification to undertake licensed activities, bankruptcy, or conviction of an offense. The act prohibits licensed activities within a 15.5-mile radius of schools, parks, libraries, and drug abuse treatment centers.

The Industrial Hemp Act in Zambia

The Industrial Hemp Act permits licensed activities related to the growing, processing, distribution, buying, export, and research on industrial hemp. Hemp is defined as a cannabis plant or any part or derivative with a THC concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis. The licensing process and revocation criteria are similar to those outlined in the Cannabis Act.

Cultivating cannabis on the same premises as industrial hemp is prohibited, and violation of this provision may result in fines, imprisonment, or both, along with potential seizure of the illegally grown cannabis.

Is Recreational Cannabis Legal in Zambia?

Recreational use of cannabis remains illegal under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 2021. Possession without authorization is subject to fines, while trafficking offenses carry more severe penalties, although the specific quantity threshold for trafficking has yet to be defined.

Possessing and using cannabis in Zambia is illegal, and the consequences for even small amounts of the drug can be severe. According to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, individuals found in possession or control of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance can face imprisonment for a maximum term of 15 years upon conviction.

Regarding cannabis use, if someone is caught sniffing, chewing, drinking, or otherwise administering the drug, they can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

The Dangerous Drugs Act also considers allowing premises to be used for smoking cannabis as a criminal offense. Furthermore, possessing instruments or equipment used in the consumption of cannabis, such as a bong, is also deemed a criminal offense. Offenders caught in such acts can face imprisonment of up to 10 years.

Will Zambia Legalize Weed?

While the Zambian government generally maintains an anti-cannabis stance, there have been instances of prominent political figures advocating for its legalization. One notable example is Peter Sinkamba, who ran for president as a representative of the Green Party in 2014. Sinkamba highlighted the environmental and economic benefits of legalizing cannabis, suggesting that it is widely cultivated throughout the country for the black market and proposing its legalization as a solution.

 

Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.