History of CBD and Cannabis In – Eswatini
Many countries throughout the world have taken an abrupt leftward turn over the past few years when it comes towards marijuana policies. While only a few nations have outright legalized the drug, they have taken half steps in that direction, reducing sentences, focusing on treatment as opposed to imprisonment or legalizing medical marijuana. While these changes have not been uniform, they are unquestionably occurring in many places.
These changes have not been uniform, however, and only a few nations in Africa have moved this way. Such is the case in Eswatini, a small nation in southeastern Africa. Interestingly, much of the legalization of marijuana which has occurred in Africa has been largely concentrated on the nation’s southern tip. Eswatini has yet to legalize marijuana, but it appears that may be changing in the future.
History of Cannabis in Eswatini
According to the Eswatini government, marijuana has been illegal in the country since 1922, when colonial authorities passed the Opium and Habit Forming Drugs Act. At the time, the country was under the control of British authorities, where it remained until 1968. As such, Eswatini’s history with cannabis matches up with the history of much of the rest of the African nations: It was ruled by colonial authorities who regulated cannabis and other drugs, despite the fact that it was likely their sailors and traders who brought the substance to the country in the first place.
Legal Status & Availability of Cannabis and CBD in Eswatini
At the moment, all forms of cannabis are illegal in Eswatini, including recreational or medical. CBD is also not yet legal. This is despite the fact that, according to a 2017 report, legalization of cannabis could potentially generate $1.63 billion. This could potentially triple the small country’s GDP.
However, unlike many other African countries, Eswatini is at least looking towards the legalization of cannabis. In 2019, legislation was drafted which would legalize the substance. The legislation was modeled on similar legislation drafted in other African countries, which would call for the legalization and regulation of cannabis, to be sold via licensed vendors. Initial reports indicated that four licenses would be available at first.
Indeed, the government is now soliciting public comment on proposed regulations. This would be a notable change for the country, but one which is inline with most of the rest of southern Africa.
However, there is significant fear that the legalization of cannabis – and subsequent licensing – could crowd out farmers who currently grow cannabis illegally.