Ugandans will soon start to legally farm medical marijuana on their farms, news reports quoting State Minister of Health for General Duties, Sarah Opendi has indicated.
Opendi told journalists that the government of Uganda is in the final stages of legalizing marijuana growing for mainly medical purposes.
The minister revealed that the cabinet has set up a subcommittee to look into a proposal of legalizing cannabis growing. The subcommittee is chaired by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda.
She said Rugunda processing the proposal that will soon be discussed by the cabinet to critically look at the issues of enforcement and regulation.
“We are hopeful that early next year we should be able to receive a report from this cabinet subcommittee and thereafter we should be able to make a decision,” Opendi told media.
Reports indicate that numerous local and international companies have applied to acquire a license to grow medical cannabis for export. This has triggered government interest in the herb.
The government recently authorized Industrial Hemp (U) Ltd, a private company working with another Israeli-based cannabis firm to grow marijuana in Kasese even though the laws forbid it.
Among the ministries that will be in charge of issuing licenses to marijuana growing companies include; Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Justice, Internal Affairs, National Drug Authority (NDA) and Uganda Investment Authority (UIA).
The National Drug Policy and Authority Act, 1993 provides that “No person shall, without the written consent of the Health Minister… cultivate any plant from, which a narcotic drug can be extracted.”
What is medical marijuana?
The term medical marijuana refers to using the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions.
According to the World Health Organisation, several studies have demonstrated the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids for nausea and vomiting in the advanced stages of illnesses such as cancer and Aids.
For instance, dronabinol (tetrahydrocannabinol) has been available by prescription for more than a decade in the USA.
Other therapeutic uses of cannabinoids are being demonstrated by controlled studies, including treatment of asthma and glaucoma, as an antidepressant, appetite stimulant, anticonvulsant and anti-spasmodic.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine even though a scientific study of the chemicals in marijuana, called cannabinoids, has led to two FDA-approved medications that contain cannabinoid chemicals in pill form.