History of CBD and Cannabis: Botswana
Botswana, a landlocked country in Southern Africa, had much of its current cannabis policy defined while it was still considered a British protectorate.
On the eve of September 30th in 1966, Botswana finally gained independence from colonial rule after sixty years of political insurrection. Over time, colonial British leaders had to adapt to residents’ pressures by enacting a bicameral system: inhabitants formed an African council that would consult with a European advisor on important local issues.
Some of these issues were about the growing issue of local cannabis use. Pressure from the council’s British counterpart pushed for growing restriction of cannabis cultivation, use, and trafficking in the area.
Ever since the cessation of colonial rule, Botswana has maintained a relatively stable governmental system with a high purchasing power parity and high human development index. All of these political developments have helped to inform the country’s current stance towards marijuana.
Cannabis, CBD, and Botswana
Cannabis is considered illegal for both recreational and medical use across Botswana. With one of the highest GDPs and rates of governmental stability in Africa, Botswana has an improved ability to target illegal drug trafficking, use, and cultivation schemes.
As a member of the African Union and the United Nations, Botswana maintains a restrictive and aggressive stance towards all forms of nonviolent drug use.
Since the eighties, the United States and other Western powers have sought to enact worldwide cannabis restrictions in order to stamp out international illegal trade operations. Although success at reducing crime was debatable, this resulted in worldwide bans of previously tolerated cannabis.
Swathes of areas across the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa all started to implement more robust criminalization reforms. In Botswana, the government posited that marijuana has no medicinal properties and was purely a force for societal destruction.
Of course, this attitude directly conflicted with the healing traditions established in many African tribes in the area. To this day, a large number of residents don’t adhere to the current restrictive policies in the country. Cannabis is still used for spiritual, religious, and recreational purposes by many locals.
Dominated by the Kalahari desert, Botswana is primarily flat and most illicit cultivation occurs around a highly concentrated area in the lush Limpopo river basin. The robust stability of the Botswana government has allowed for the destruction of many wild and domesticated cannabis crops throughout the country. Most cannabis needs to be illegally trafficked into the region through neighboring territories.
As international organizations and Western governments slowly soften their policy regarding marijuana, it remains to be seen whether or not Botswana will institute reform. If the country has departments capable of regulating a fully-fledged cannabis market, economic development may be beneficial.