The government has put a halt on the license that was issued to Together Pharma, an Israeli firm to start growing marijuana in Uganda.
Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) had on March 8, 2019 cleared the firm in form of an investment license.
“This investment License has been issued under Section 16 of the Investment Code, 1991. The provision of the Investment Code 1991 and Guidelines and Procedures brought into effect under it shall apply,” reads the license.
The license that was signed by the UIA Acting Authority Executive Director Lawrence Byensi showed that the company was to operate in Uganda as Industrial Globus Uganda Ltd and had land to grow medical cannabis (marijuana) for export in Kasese, Busongora County North 079, Hima Town Council. Its shareholders include Globus Pharma Inc. based in Israel and Industrial Hemp Uganda Ltd run by former Bunyaruguru Member of Parliament Benjamin Cadet.
However, speaking to a local online news website, State Minister for Investment Evelyn Anite revealed that the license was issued too early.
“We have put the licence on halt as we wait for final position by cabinet on growing the cannabis.
“Cabinet tasked the Ministry of health to do a research and give a report on the matter in two months ending next month,” Anite said on Wednesday.
The Minister further stated that a paper concerning the issue was deferred with instructions to the health minister to do more research about the health benefits for cannabis and other legal provisions before a decision is taken.
“We have to do research on how to regulate and control cannabis and the minister is supposed to return to cabinet on May 15,”stated Anite.
Adding, “When I learnt that it had been done behind my back, I made phone calls for halting the licence until cabinet disposes of this matter and proper regulation is put in place.”
Recently, the Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said she had never granted Together Pharma permission to start a marijuana farm in Uganda.
“I have never given such permission. Cabinet sat and said we need to do more research on this issue. The law allows only the minister of Health to approve and then other processes can go on. I have not done that,” Aceng said in an interview.
The National Drug Policy and Authority Act, 1993 provides that “No person shall, without the written consent of the Health Minister… cultivate any plant from, which a narcotic drug can be extracted.”