The Rwandan government has approved the cultivation and export of cannabis in the country.
It becomes the second East African Country to do so after Uganda. Although the use of the substance in the country remains banned.
The government is targeting to grow its export earnings from the global cannabis market valued at the $345 billion according to analysts New Frontier Data.
The development is seen to have generated mixed reactions in the country with a majority believing it could be abused as times goes on.
Rwanda’s Minister of Health, Dr Daniel Ngamije stated that despite the governments’s intention to profit from the production and export of marijuana, its use in the country is prohibited.
“This will not give an excuse for drug abusers and dealers. The law against narcotics is available and it will continue to be enforced,” Dr Ngamije said on state-run television Rwanda Broadcasting Agency on Tuesday.
As the production or sale of cannabis is prohibited in Rwanda. Doctors are banned from prescribing it as medicine, and doing so could land them in jail for two years and a fine of about Rwf3 million (about $3000), under Article 266 of the Penal Code.
Use of the narcotics attracts a jail term of two years, while drug dealers face between 20 years to life in prison, and a fine of up to Rwf30 million ($30,000).