The government of Zimbabwe is set to introduce a tax on the export of medical cannabis in a highly ambitious bid that will see the treasury earn billions in forex, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube told Parliament on Thursday.

During his 2021 National budget presentation before the August house, Minister Ncube said medical cannabis had the potential to generate US$1.25 billion through taxes.

Cannabis (mbanje/imbanje) production has immense potential to generate export receipts and tax revenues. The potential value of cannabis exports for medicinal purposes is estimated at about US$1.25 billion for the year 2021, he said.

Professor Ncube proposed to legislators a Cannabis Levy of up to 15 per cent on cannabis-related exports.

I, therefore, propose to introduce a Cannabis Levy, chargeable on the value of exports, at the following varied rates of tax that correspond to the level of processing: 10 per cent on the export sales value of finished packaged medicinal cannabis oils that are ready for resale, 15 per cent on the export sales values of bulk extracted medicinal cannabis oils that require further processing and/ or packaging and 20 per cent on the export sales value of dried medicinal cannabis flowers, he said.

According to a report by a local publication, Zimbabwe harvested its first yield of cannabis legally known as industrial hemp in February this year.

In 2018 Zimbabwe made history by becoming the second African country to legalize mbanje for scientific and medical purposes. However, under SI 62/2018 only licensed farmers are permitted to grow the plant.

Mbanje which is mostly used for recreational purposes in Zimbabwe and around the world has immense health benefits and is used to treat the following ailments:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Appetite loss
  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
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