WINDHOEK – The Lesotho government has granted Namibian businessman Knowledge Katti and his Mosotho partner Thabo Ntai a licence to cultivate, manufacture and supply cannabis, in line with the kingdom nation’s laws.
The licence is valid for ten years and is renewable on an annual basis.
The licence, granted in 2018, also allows the pair’s company – Lecana (Pty) Ltd – to import and export the drug.
Lesotho’s minister of health Nkaku Kabi granted the licence, according to documents seen by New Era.
The licence allows Katti and his partner to produce cannabis, also called dagga or marijuana, for “extraction, processing of edible, active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and medicine production”.
Other conditions attached to the licence are that Lecana is permitted to cultivate up to 4.6 hectares of cannabis and that the prohibited drug must be produced, packaged, labelled and stored in accordance with agreed standard operating procedures.
Katti and his partner are permitted to supply cannabis to approved persons and companies – including for research purposes.
“The applicant (Lecana) through its managers and authorised signatories on its behalf declare that the prohibited drug will not serve any purpose which was not expressly provided for its licence and will not supply, against payment or free of charge, to any third party without the required approval…” reads the contract signed by Minister Kabi.
BBC reported last year that Lesotho is aiming to make money from the booming medicinal marijuana industry – although illicit trade in the drug for recreational use is rife in the mountainous country.
Globally, medicinal marijuana is big business. The market for legal marijuana is set to be worth $146 billion a year by 2025, with medicinal marijuana set to make up more than two-thirds of that, according to consultants Grand View Research.
As the first mover on the continent, Lesotho aims to capitalise on its green bounty by encouraging international investment not only in cultivation but also processing.
“We want to export finished products. So the plan is to cultivate and manufacture pharmaceutical products, nutritional products, cosmetics, and extraction of active pharmaceutical ingredients,” Masello Sello, legal adviser at the health ministry, told BBC seven months ago.