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Marijuana export: Decision time as Health Minister Dr. Aceng drags feet

Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng on the spot as a decision on the proposals from foreign firms to grow and export Marijuana products drags. (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA – As Cabinet prepares to endorse the proposal by several government agencies to grow and export Marijuana products, Health Minister, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng faces a moment of truth after she reportedly opposed the idea.

As contradictions about the subject start to show face, it has emerged that on December 7, 2017, Uganda exported unrefined cannabis buds/ flowers to South Africa’s National Analytical Forensic Services in Pretoria.

The order to Industrial Hemp (U) Ltd, a private company, was valued at $10,000 (Shs37.1m), Daily Monitor reported on Tuesday, April 23. The influential newspaper quoted one firm’s directors Mr. Benjamin Cadet for its story.

The news about the exportation of medical marijuana products came as a five-member Cabinet committee met on Tuesday to discuss the dangers and benefits of medical marijuana.

The committee chaired by the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, also includes Dr. Aceng, Trade and Industry Minister Amelia Kyambadde, Matia Kasaija of Finance, Agriculture’s Vincent Ssempijja, and Internal Affairs minister Gen.  Jeje Odongo.

The news about the exportation of medical marijuana products came as a five-member Cabinet committee chaired the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, met on Tuesday to discuss the dangers and benefits of medical marijuana. (PHOTO/FILE)

About 20 companies have so far sent letters to Dr. Aceng requesting to grow marijuana for medical purposes; however it’s not yet clear why only one, Industrial Hemp (U) Ltd, a private firm jointly working with an Israel company, Together Pharma Ltd, was cleared.

However, according to sources close to the issue, an influential top army general ignored Dr. Aceng and her objections to the project and planted his Marijuana Kasese, western Uganda and it is from this garden that Uganda has been carrying out tests before full scale production kicks off.

With Cabinet approval, Uganda is set to export medical marijuana products to Europe and other countries in the west.
According to WebMD, a global website that provides health information, the greatest amount of evidence for the therapeutic effects of cannabis relate to its ability to reduce chronic pain, nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy and spasticity (tight or stiff muscles).

Cabinet is considering proposals from 14 foreign firms to grow cannabis in Uganda. (COURTESY PHOTO)

The marijuana exports from a farm in Kasese District include Cannabinol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with mixture of 2.7mg THC and 2.5mg CBD for Sativex drugs approved in USA, Europe and Canada. Oil Risin contain Dronabinol for making Marinol and syndros capsules and CBD enriched creams for various skin disorders.

Below are some of the firms that have applied to grow and export Medical marijuana:

1.Industrial Hemp (U) Ltd
2.Together Pharma Ltd
3.Natgro Phama (U) Ltd
4.Medraw (U) SMC Ltd
5.Urban Properties (U) Ltd
6.Prime Ranchers
7.Silver Seeds (U) Ltd
8.Dave and Dave Group
9.Seven Blades
10.Cannops Africa
11.Quest Worths International Group
12.Premier Hemp (U) Ltd
13.Sativa Agro-tech Ltd
14. Zeus Agro Ltd
15. Owesia U Ltd

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