Debate on whether Malawi should legalise the use and sale of chamba (cannabis sativa or Indian hemp) continues with Kemet Forum and other scholars organising a seminar to initiate an intellectual conversation on the issue.
The meeting will be held at the University of Malawi’s (Unima) Chancellor College in Zomba on Saturday July 18 2015, where some academics will help unpack whether there are any benefits the economy can accrue from the plant.
One of the Kemet Foundation officials, Paliani Chinguwo, said in an interview the seminar comes after the realisation that although industrial hemp is indeed a form of cannabis, it only has trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the element in marijuana, another variety of cannabis that gets one high.
Kemet Forum is a network of citizens that critically discusses and disseminates hidden, distorted, misrepresented or unspoken truths about Africa.
Said Chinguwo: “One can’t smoke industrial hemp with the purpose of getting high the way people do with marijuana. So, the seminar is basically being convened to interrogate this and demystify this plant and examine whether there is literally nothing that Malawi can benefit from cannabis [particularly industrial hemp] as the law stipulates.”
At the seminar, the organisers will also display products from industrial hemp to be conducted by a company called Invegro, the first one to apply for a licence in Malawi to cultivate and process industrial hemp.
Ntchisi North member of Parliament Boniface Kadzamira (Malawi Congress Party-MCP), who will be one of the guest speakers, restarted the chamba debate in Parliament in May this year when he asked government to legalise the sale of chamba, saying it was a viable alternative to boost the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
Former MP and deputy minister of Agriculture in the Bakili Muluzi administration, Joe Manduwa, also raised the issue in Parliament in the early 2000s.