Malawi’s legislators will consider in March a bill to legalize medical cannabis and hemp, as the country looks to reduce its reliance on tobacco, according to a VOA News story relayed by the TMA.

Tobacco was said to account for 13 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and 60 percent of its foreign exchange earnings.

Lesotho, South Africa, and Zimbabwe have already adopted similar measures.

Boniface Kadzamira, a member of Malawi’s parliament who has long pushed for the legalization of cannabis said, “we were the first in this part of Africa to start discussing this thing”. “Those countries that came after us have gone ahead of us and have already started issuing licenses,” he added.

According to the VOA story, anti-drug campaigners worry legalizing medical marijuana will encourage more recreational use but they’re facing an uphill battle against those who argue to regulate the trade and help Malawi’s economy grow.

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