Medical cannabis is becoming more and more popular around the world and as demand grows, supplying the highly effective herbal medicine has grown into a multibillion-dollar business.
Smart governments around the world are making the most of the medical cannabis export opportunity.
Country after country legalizes medical cannabis and many of them start with importing the medicine before local production is regulated and the first crops are harvested.
We saw this situation unfolding in Germany where medical cannabis is already legal, however, they are buying it from Canada, while the local infrastructure is ready for production.
Or in the case of Poland, they are not even planning local production even though medical cannabis was legalized last year.
This creates an incredible opportunity for countries with the suitable climate and most importantly with political leadership to grow and export legal cannabis to the world.
Canada is the world leader in cannabis production with a cannabis industry worth US$ 3.2 billion and growing, however, producing cannabis in Canada isn’t competitive in the long term.
Due to the climate and expensive labor cost, Canadian and US companies are looking at producing cannabis at more suitable locations around the world.
It makes perfect sense for Africa to be part of the ‘cannabis boom’.
It was only a matter of time before medical cannabis production was set up in Africa, as a huge part of the continent has suitable climate and low labor cost.
African countries are famous for their cannabis production, although so far it has been all illegal.
Africa is home to many landraces and countries like Congo are well known for their cannabis culture, although the political climate is less than favorable.
The first African country to take advantage of this growth opportunity is the landlocked mountain kingdom of Lesotho.
Medi Kingdom Holdings have become the first licensed medical cannabis producer in Lesotho and in Africa. Their first crop was planted in 2016 and Medi Kingdom will export their first products this month (January 2018). After partnering with Seattle, Washington based Rhizo Sciences, they are building a US$ 50 million medical cannabis export facility in the country.
The facility would span across 35,000m2, making it one of the largest cannabis export facilities in the world.
Lesotho is a small sovereign country landlocked by South Africa. It is high up in the mountains with plenty of sunshine and water, making it ideal for cannabis production all year around.
Appart from growing facilities, the project also involves a processing and extraction facility as well as plans for a 3rd party independent testing facility to be built on site this year.
The Medi Kingdom project is the first step in developing a local cannabis industry and hopefully make it a major contributor to the local economy.
Cannabis production could be a great opportunity for most of the African continent to attract much-needed capital and infrastructure and economic development to the region.
Medi Kingdom is already doing some fantastic work with supporting the local community via the Medi Kingdom Foundation that has been set up to improve the life of the local communities and to ensure that locals benefit from the cannabis boom as well.