History of CBD and Cannabis: Malawi
Malawi, a landlocked country in Southeast Africa, is bordered by Zambia to the west and Mozambique to the south. As one of the world’s least developed countries, Malawi residents are reliant on surges in global demand for the cultivation of agricultural products.
As the government increasingly relies on diminishing foreign aid, more residents have been forced to either exit the country or join illicit criminal cannabis cultivation schemes in order to survive. Globally, one acre of marijuana is nearly thirty times as profitable as a comparable acre of a local crop, which makes it a much more desirable market for growers.
Cannabis, CBD, and Malawi
Although cannabis is completely illegal in Malawi for all purposes, the rates of enforcement are very low. Like other African countries, it’s not uncommon for residents to publicly consume marijuana in cafes, restaurants, or other spaces with no fear of repercussion.
Additionally, Malawi is home to one of the most powerful psychoactive strains of African sativa. The worldwide acclaim of local cannabis strains has increased tourism from nearby states exponentially. Despite the country’s small size, Malawi is one of the continent’s biggest producers in South Africa.
For historic reasons, most marijuana grows in both wild and domesticated crops along the Mzimba District’s Likwawa hills and the Lupache River. Some families host small growing operations in desolate mountain hills, bushes, and other areas beyond the reach of already overburdened law enforcement.
It’s estimated that 0.2 percent of Malawi’s annual GDP is purely due to the illicit export of local cannabis strains.
For generations, cannabis consumption has played a pivotal role in the development of Malawi society. Rather than being purely an intoxicant, local healers would use marijuana to treat fevers, snakebites, and malaria.
Additionally, locals have long thought that marijuana holds religious power. Malawian Rastafari populations have been using cannabis ritualistically for decades.
Despite the significance of marijuana in Malawi culture, international pressures from neighboring African states and Western powers has gone a long way towards cementing the substance’s illegal status.
In the seventies and eighties, the United States enacted a War on Drugs policy, which was subsequently exported to the rest of the world. Countries that didn’t comply with strict anti-drug regulations could’ve been hit with economic sanctions, tariffs, or other damaging measures.
For the US, African nations like Malawi were of huge concern since these countries acted as one of the primary exporters of the world’s cannabis supply.
It’s unlikely that cannabis will be officially legalized or decriminalized soon in Malawi. Despite Western nations scaling back punitive drug crime punishments, Malawi lacks the infrastructure to support a fully-fledged legal cannabis economy.