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More and More African Countries are Partially or Completely Legalizing Cannabis

Plans to legalize the lucrative cannabis trade in the southern African Kingdom of Eswatini by overhauling a 100-year-old colonial drug law are being slammed by activists and farmers. The critics say a new bill, which proposes legalizing the substance for medicinal and research purposes, will undermine a trade which for decades has provided a meaningful income for many in a small economy with few employment prospects. Eswatini, which is landlocked by South Africa and Mozambique, has a population of around 1.2 million people and, according to the World Bank, an unemployment rate of 24%. It has few industries beyond agriculture, textiles and sugar-processing. Eswatini cannabis, commonly referred to as “Swazi Gold”, is expensive and highly sought after in global markets due to its apparent potency. Two documentaries on Eswatini cannabis have a combined total of over 19 million views on YouTube. The crop’s reputation means farmers in the Hhohho region sell their harvest at a premium price to dealers and individuals in neighboring South Africa.