DEPUTY Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki says Lesotho is one of the few countries in the world that provide the best conditions suitable for the production of high quality medical cannabis.
Mr Moleleki was addressing leaders of the medical cannabis industry at the Cannabis Europa conference, which is one of the events that took place during the inaugural European Cannabis Week (ECW) running from 24 to 29 June in London, United Kingdom.
The EWC is made up of a series of events which look into all aspects of Europe’s emerging medical cannabis industry, the cannabinoid (CBD) boom and the politics and culture of the once controversial product.
The conference is taking place at various venues across the London. The speakers will discuss topics including politics, science, health, patient needs, advocacy, investment and culture while networking and enjoying the best the continent has to offer.
ECW is the first major showcase of Europe’s fledgling legal CBD and medical cannabis industry and the first major set of events in the UK since the government lifted restrictions last November, providing a window into what the future may hold.
Speaking in London, Mr Moleleki said the progress that Lesotho has made towards the development of the industry is nothing short of astounding.
In 2017, Lesotho became the first African country to legalise the growing of medical marijuana (cannabis) amid high expectations that it would immensely benefit from the world-wide industry which is projected by forbes.com to grow from US$7, 7 billion in 2017 to $31, 4 billion in 2021.
According to the Grand View Research Inc, the global medical marijuana market is expected to reach a value of US$ 55, 8 billion by 2025.
Mr Moleleki said: “At a difficult time in southern Africa where economic growth is sluggish and climate change is causing hardship for the country, the emerging medical cannabis industry is a pragmatic and progressive solution to the challenges facing not only our own kingdom of Lesotho but in the region, the continent and the rest of the world.”
“Innovation in agriculture and manufacturing sectors is among key priorities for the government of Lesotho. The creation of jobs is critical to our goal of eliminating inequality and eradicating poverty,” Mr Moleleki said.
He said the country is under no illusions that it will take a lot to overcome the challenges in harnessing the full potential of the cannabis industry.
“Overcoming these challenges is difficult no matter where in the world they present and so too we understand that it will not be easy for Basotho.
“But as our beloved brother from South Africa, the iconic Nelson Mandela famously said, it always seems impossible until it is done,” Mr Moleleki said.
Mr Moleleki also said Lesotho is doing well to attract foreign investors.
“The growth of the medical cannabis industry in Lesotho has been nothing short of astounding. We are seeing a significant number of international medical cannabis companies investing in our country.
“They are drawn to our Mountain Kingdom not only by its beautiful and pristine nature but also because Lesotho is also one of the few areas on earth to cultivate and manufacture high quality medical cannabis.
“While there is much to be proud, there is more that needs to be to done to ensure that Lesotho takes its place at the forefront,” Mr Moleleki said.