The number of private firms seeking to grow and export marijuana from Uganda for medical purposes has increased from 20 in April to 50 in July.
Early this month, Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng wrote to all the 50 marijuana companies and told them that Uganda had not yet started issuing operational permits for companies to grow and process marijuana for medical purposes.
“The government of Uganda through the Ministry of Health is still in early stages of carrying out wide consultations on this nascent area to understand the economic benefits of cannabis, its medical value based on scientifically proven evidence including the challenges of regulation so that we can formulate a way forward.”
Adding “In line with the above, we have not yet progressed to the stage of granting operational permits for entities to grow and process cannabis for medical export in Uganda. However, we welcome more information and input on the subject matter.”
However, some of the firms accuse the Minister of frustrating investment and playing politics given the fact that government has already licensed licensed Industrial Hemp (U) Ltd to grow and export medical cannabis.
The company is currently working together with Pharma Limited, one of the biggest Israeli cannabis firm on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
“Many investors are stuck; they are losing business because she has refused to act. Let the minister ask Parliament to repeal the law if she doesn’t want people to invest. She is hiding behind wide consultations on the matter yet the same government in 2016 licensed some companies to grow the same crop. These are double standards,” said Edie Kwizera, a strategic consultant for a consortium of UK-based companies, seeking to grow and process marijuana in East African country.