Lesotho has become the first African country to permit the legal cultivation of cannabis – but the production of the drug has been restricted to two foreign-owned companies, while rural farmers and the wider population continue to be prohibited from harvesting their own.
Lesotho is a landlocked country, entirely encircled by South Africa, with a population of a little over two million.
Almost a year ago, on February 28 2017, Lesotho’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare granted a Prohibited Drug Operator license to the Pharmaceutical Development Company (PDC) Ltd to legally cultivate, supply, hold, import, and export cannabis. This made PDC – which is based in Lesotho’s capital Maseru – the first company in the country, and indeed the entire of the African continent, to be permitted to legally produce the drug. Yet, just months later, PDC’s director resigned and was replaced by US-based businessman Michael Ogburn, and all of PDC’s …