Industrial hemp advocates have commended members of Parliament (MPs) for passing a motion to legalise cultivation and use of the product in the country.
The legislators on Thursday adopted a motion by Ntchisi North MP Boniface Kadzamira (Independent) for government to legalise industrial hemp.
It was the second time an MP had proposed legalisation of industrial hemp after then deputy ministry of Agriculture Joe Manduwa in April 2000.
The development has inspired Kemet Forum, a local network that has been advocating for hemp legalisation, which has commended the MPs for taking initial steps towards re-considering the status of industrial hemp.
However, the network has implored the MPs to expedite in taking further steps to reform the existing laws and enact a bill on industrial hemp to facilitate the cultivation and processing under appropriate laws.
The particular laws Kemet wants to be amended include the Dangerous Drugs Act and the Noxious Weeds Act which both classify all varieties of cannabis, including industrial hemp, as substances or plants that are valueless and extremely harmful to society.
Kemet said the enacting of the bill would ensure that by-products are locally produced and exported hence earning the much needed forex.
Industrial hemp is a variety of cannabis that has no undesirable psychoactive effects associated with the other variety of cannabis called marijuana.
Statistics show over 20 000 scientific studies published over the last 10 years have confirmed that industrial hemp has enormous industrial and nutritional values unlike marijuana.
However, some MPs have stressed the need for government to exercise caution on the issue in order not to allow unscrupulous people to take advantage of the legislation to promote the growth of illicit Indian hemp (chamba).
Industrial hemp has several uses, including processing into bio-degradable plastics, construction materials, car/air craft body parts, clothing, oil, fuel, food, ropes and paper.