The African continent, we are often told, has great resources and economic potential, but is held back by lack of development and infrastructure. It’s certainly a sign of the times that we’re now hearing this line not only from the oil and mineral cartels, but the cannabis industry.
This familiar refrain is the central contention of The African Cannabis Report, newly released by UK-based international cannabis industry consultancy Prohibition Partners. As we’ve previously noted, the think-tank’s name is an ironic one; the company is dedicated to monitoring and encouraging the growth of the cannabis sector as it ascends in the emerging post-prohibition world.
Daragh Anglim writes in the introduction that Africa, blessed with favorable climatic conditions, is already estimated to produce at least 38,000 metric tons of cannabis per year, almost all of it for the illicit market. Marijuana remains illegal in most African countries, but economic factors are nonetheless propelling the illicit sector: “High unemployment rates and a global decline in demand for tobacco crops has hit these economies hard,” he observes. “However, the region has a wealth of experience in cannabis cultivation; despite its illegality, many agricultural workers have turned to cannabis farming as the only way to earn enough money to provide for the basic needs of their families.”
Anglim weighs the prospects for transition to a legal cannabis sector: “With affordable land, low-cost labor and an experienced agricultural workforce, Africa offers enormous opportunity …