rwanda legalises medical use of marijuana



by Helvine Achieng July 2, 2021

Rwanda has passed a new order that legalises medical use of bhang though the consumption of Cannabis products for recreational purposes remains illegal in Rwanda and the  country maintains harsh penalties for illegal production, distribution and consumption of Cannabis.

The production of Cannabis in Rwanda will be done in adherence to the law governing narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors. The law still categorizes Cannabis under illegal narcotics.

A new Ministerial Order governing Cannabis and its products in Rwanda gazetted on Monday lists guidelines for the growing, processing, exporting and medical use of marijuana. The Order No 003/MoH/2021 of 25/06/2021 Relating to the Cannabis and Cannabis Products stipulates that “any investor or person who is committed to perform any activity of cultivation, processing, importation, export and use of Cannabis and Cannabis products, for medical or research purposes” is eligible to do so. The law further  lists eight available licences and activities allowed under each licence, which will be valid for five years.

The law governing narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors, imposes fines of between Rwf500,000 ($507) and Rwf5m ($5,078) and prison terms of between three to five years for anyone found illegally using marijuana.

Rwanda joins African countries like Lesotho, Morocco, Uganda and Zimbabwe that have legalized medical use of marijuana. The country is now a step closer to mass production and export of the multi-billion-dollar cash crop.