How South Africa's New Marijuana Laws Will Help Its Neighbors

Yesterday South Africa's highest court officially decriminalized marijuana in the country. Obviously this is great news for people living in South Africa, but the benefits will also be felt by the country's neighbors.

South Africa's neighbors are already excited about the possibility of the country's new lax marijuana laws. Last year Lesotho, a country that's literally surrounded by South Africa, became the first African country to legalize marijuana cultivation. About 70 percent of the marijuana found in South Africa originates from Lesotho, so now that cannabis is decriminalized in that country, that could mean even more cannabis exports for the smaller nation.

eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland and borders South Africa in the East, is also considering legalizing cannabis cultivation. Many impoverished farmers in the country already grow cannabis and export it to other nations, but legalizing cultivation is projected to triple the country's GDP and bring in over $1 billion for the struggling nation.

Malawi, which doesn't border South Africa but isn't too far away, has also experimented with legalizing hemp farming. While the nation continues to prohibit marijuana cultivation, it's possible the success of cannabis in other nations may motivate Malawi to consider changing their laws as well. 

And of course, there's always the possibility that South Africa itself could legalize recreational marijuana and become a trendsetter throughout Africa by doing so.

So, as always, marijuana legalization continues creating opportunities.

(h/t Quartz)


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