Cabinet’s delay to approve guidelines for medical marijuana growing has raised fears within the industry that some senior government officials could be trying to manipulate the process.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng said last year that government had come up with stringent rules to be followed by firms seeking to grow marijuana for medical purposes.
For instance, individuals and companies seeking to grow or export marijuana for medical purposes will be required to present minimum capital of $5m (about Shs.18.3 billion) and a bank guarantee of Shs4 billion.
The government will want all investors to present tax clearance certificates from the Uganda Revenue Authority, valid trading license, and evidence of value addition to cannabis and audited accounts, among others.
Yet three months into the year, government has gone mute on the progress of the implementation of the guidelines.
Some analysts estimate that the medical cannabis industry will create more than 100,000 jobs and generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for government.
Some firms are already growing marijuana as others wait for clearance.
Industrial Hemp Uganda Ltd, a private company based in Hima, Kasese District, has since 2017 been enjoying the monopoly working with Industrial Globus Pharma Uganda Ltd (a subsidiary of Together Pharma from Israel) to grow medical marijuana for export to Germany and Canada.
Some of the companies with pending licenses include; Natgro Phama (U) Ltd, Medraw (U) SMC Ltd, Urban Properties (U) Ltd, Prime Ranchers, Silver Seeds (U) Ltd, Dave and Dave Group, Seven Blades, Cannops Africa, Quest Worths International Group, Premier Hemp, Sativa Agro-tech Ltd, Zeus Agro Ltd and Owesia (U) Ltd