The Lesotho’s Ministry of Health has granted a South African Medical Company with an official license to cultivate cannabis for medical and scientific purposes.
Verve Dynamic will be the first cannabis production company in Africa to receive administrative approval.
What is Verve Dynamics?
Verve Dynamic focuses on innovative and proprietary technologies for the nutraceutical and phytoextraction markets. They have integrated their expertise in the development and manufacturing of high-quality extractions, compounds, and isolates. The proprietary extraction processes they developed allowed them to create a diverse and select variety of customisable phyto-extracts- designed specifically for the end product and end user.
What are the next steps?
Verve started the beginning of their project in July 2017 and will only provide high Cannabidiol (CBD) containing Sativa strains initially. However, once they establish themselves within the market, they may explore other strains.
Verve Dynamics Lesotho will use only GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) solvents in its Supercritical and Sub-critical extraction processes. They will also incorporate their traditional solvent extraction method using only cold Ethanol and high-frequency cavitation.
History of Cannabis in Africa
In 1680, the Dutch East India Company tried to establish a monopoly on the sale of cannabis. This began the prohibition of Cape Settlers, however, the prohibition was lifted 20 years later in 1700 since cannabis was so easily available in the wild which meant there was little profit to be made.
In 1860, Indian workers were being imported by the Natal Colony to increase their labor force. The Indians brought cannabis and hashish which blended well with the locals. However, in 1870, the Natal Colony Law Consolidation end up prohibited the “smoking, use, or possession by and the sale, barter, or gift to, any Indian workers whatsoever, of any portion of the plant.
In 1937, the government of South Africa introduced the Weeds Act, which made the occupant or owner of a property accountable for preventing the growth of cannabis, or any other plant classified as a “weed,” on the property.
Then on March 31st, 2017, a case brought by Gareth Prince, Jeremy Acton, and Jonathan Ruben before the Western Cape High Court. Judge Dennis Davis ruled that any law disallowing the use of and cultivation of cannabis by an adult in a private household was unconstitutional and therefore invalid, on the grounds that such infringement of the constitutional right to privacy could not be justified.
However, the decision has to be confirmed by the Constitutional court before taking effect, which it will then be suspended for 24 months allow Parliament to enact legislation following the ruling, failing which the invalidity automatically takes effect.
Cannabis is already Lesotho’s primary cash-crop…..
According to a 2007 report on “Cannabis in Africa” by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, an estimated 38.2 million Africans between the ages of 15 and 64 use marijuana and the numbers have grown since.
And 70% of South Africa’s cannabis comes from Lesotho. This may be due to the mountainous terrain, experienced farmers, and now, cooperative government, which will continue to propel Lesotho into playing a significant role.
Lesotho has the opportunity to develop this industry, both locally and internationally, especially establishing itself as of pioneer in Africa with the use of state of the art extraction equipment that Nerve Dynamic is using.
As we get closer to 2018, I wonder if we will begin to see more African government’s following Lesotho’s footsteps.
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