The world is turning to cannabis not only for its medical values but also its trade benefits and Uganda cannot afford to miss out, Rajiv Ruparelia, the managing director of Premier Hemp, one of the local companies eying growing the medicinal herb told local radio in an exclusive interview.
“It will bring in foreign currency, the global cannabis phenomena is taking off. Uganda has one of the best environments, it has cheap labour force, availability of land. So, there is no reason why we shouldn’t be doing this,” Rajiv said.
“Like I said we need to be forward-thinking not following every other nation. So, I am very proud of our cabinet, I am very proud of our MPs because they have taken this initiative to drive it faster than our neighbours and this is going to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in Uganda.”
“If cabinet can sit down and pass this bill because it is going to be a game-changer for Uganda, it will inspire new industries to evolve and the speed at which they have driven this is phenomenal.”
Premier Hemp as part of Rupelia group of Companies plans to leverage its vast agriculture expertise – they own Rosebud Limited and Premier Roses who together control about 40% of Uganda’s flower export business – to grow Medical Marijuana on a commercial scale.
The company is one of over 20 companies that have applied for a production license that is pending cabinet clearance of policy guidelines on the production and processing for export of medical marijuana.
In January, news broke that the government sets strict rules for marijuana growing. Now individuals and companies seeking to grow or export marijuana for medical purposes will be required to present minimum capital of $5m (Shs18.3b) and a bank guarantee of Shs4b.
Investors will also be required to present a tax clearance certificate from the Uganda Revenue Authority, lists of employees and their job descriptions, a valid trading licence, evidence of value addition to cannabis and audited accounts.