The Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe is now accepting applications for approval of hemp-based cannabidiol products as complimentary medicines.
The MCAZ is tasked with ensuring medicines, allied substances and medical devices are safe, effective and of good quality. One of its slogans is “protecting your right to human medicines and medical devices”.
But up until now, one of those rights didn’t include access to cannabidiol. In fact, a search of the MCAZ web site on the terms hemp, cannabidiol or CBD turns up nothing. But changes are under way. This week, the MCAZ said it was accepting and assessing applications for hemp-derived CBD medicines.
Among the conditions for approval are submission of product samples, certificates of analysis from an accredited laboratory and clear information of indications, warnings and contraindications. Proponents will also need to undergo and satisfactorily pass inspections of their sites by the MCAZ that will seek to ensure compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices in relation to complementary medicines.
Any hemp-based CBD product applications that do not meet MCAZ’s criteria will not be approved for distribution and confiscated.
“Further, sellers may be prosecuted for selling unapproved complementary medicines” states the Authority.
Zimbabwe legalised medicinal marijuana in 2018 – the second African country to do so. But it remains tightly regulated and very costly to enter the market. However, Zimbabwe’s government is keen to leverage the potential of cannabis; particularly given the country is Africa’s largest tobacco producer and the writing is on the wall for that crop.
In terms of industrial hemp specifically, to his point cultivation has only been legal for export purposes. The cultivation, processing and transportation of hemp is also heavily regulated.
Like many other developing countries, hemp offers hope of prosperity and better health for it citizens – and the sooner Zimbabwe gets fully on board with cannabis and cuts more red tape, the better it will be for all.
A non-government organisation leading advocacy for establishing a viable industry for commercial cultivation and processing of the crop is the Zimbabwe Industrial Hemp Trust, which was established in 2017.