Businessman Knowledge Katti and his partner Thabo Ntai have been granted a licence by the government of Lesotho to cultivate, manufacture and supply cannabis, in line with the kingdom nation’s laws.
The license was granted back in 2018, on a ten-year renewable basis which will enable the pair’s company Lecana (Pty) Ltd to export and import the cannabis.
The licence was granted by Lesotho’s minister of health Nkaku Kabi to allow Katti and his partner to produce cannabis, also called dagga or marijuana, for “extraction, processing of edible, active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and medicine production”.
There are various conditions that are attached to the license but the main one is that Lecana is only permitted to cultivate up to 4.6 hectares of cannabis and that the prohibited drug must be produced, packaged, labelled and stored in accordance with agreed standard operating procedures.
Furthermore, the license also states that the pair are only permitted to supply the cultivated cannabis to approved persons and companies – including for research purposes.
“The applicant (Lecana) through its managers and authorised signatories on its behalf declare that the prohibited drug will not serve any purpose which was not expressly provided for its licence and will not supply, against payment or free of charge, to any third party without the required approval…” read the contract signed by Minister Kabi.
Last year BBC reported that Lesotho is aiming to make money from the newly emerged medical marijuana industry..
Globally the medicinal use for marijuana is a big business and the market for legal marijuana is set to be worth $146 billion by the year 2025, with medicinal marijuana set to make up more than two-thirds of that, according to consultants Grand View Research.
As the first country in the continent to allow the trade of medicinal marijuana, Lesotho aims to capitalise on its green bounty by encouraging international investment not only in cultivation but also processing.
“We want to export finished products. So, the plan is to cultivate and manufacture pharmaceutical products, nutritional products, cosmetics, and extraction of active pharmaceutical ingredients,” Masello Sello, legal adviser at the health ministry, told BBC.
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.