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Harare’s New Cash Crop

Zimbabwe sees export earnings from cannabis outstripping those of tobacco by almost three times after last year legalising the cultivation of the plant for medicinal use. The government has issued 44 licenses since September when it announced rules for growing cannabis, and sales are forecast to reach $1.25 billion in 2021. Tobacco is the southern African nation’s biggest agricultural export and earned $444 million from the 2020 marketing season that closed in August, according to the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board. In his budget statement on Nov. 26, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said cannabis production for medicinal purposes has “immense potential” to generate export receipts and tax revenues. A so-called cannabis levy will be introduced next year, in line with export values, Ncube said. Taxes of as much as 20% will be applied on oils, bulk extracts and dried cannabis flowers.