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Cannabis’ Contemporary Growth as Africa’s Economic Cash Crop

The cannabis policy liberalisation in Africa has been brought about by two main factors. One is the lobbying by local activists. Cannabis use is still criminalised in most African countries. But even in the most conservative ones there are emerging debates ultimately aimed at spurring cannabis policy reforms. The other factor is the emergence of the global legal cannabis industry projected to grow to nearly US$200 billion by 2028. For state authorities, policy changes are aimed at opening avenues for scarce foreign exchange revenue critically needed to boost stagnating economies. But there are still policy and practical concerns requiring attention if the cannabis sector reforms are to have a positive impact on the economy and citizens’ livelihoods. These include the need to ensure participation of ordinary producers in the legal cannabis sector. This is because the emerging regulation frameworks seem to favour corporate businesses over smallholder farmers.