Cannabis in Lesotho

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cannabis in Lesotho is illegal for any use, but largely tolerated.[1] Cannabis is widely produced in the country, being the nation's most significant cash-crop.[2] In the 2000s it was estimated that 70% of the cannabis in South Africa originated in Lesotho.[3] In 2017 Lesotho became the first African nation to grant a license for the cultivation of medical cannabis.

Cannabis is known as "matekoane" in Sesotho language.[4]


Cannabis use dates back to at least the 16th century in Lesotho, when the Koena people traded cannabis to the local San tribes in exchange for land around 1550. By the 19th century, cannabis was a staple crop in the kingdom.[4]


Cannabis is cultivated almost everywhere in Lesotho, including the capital, but the primary cultivation is in the central mountain zones and western foothills.[4]

Medical cannabis[edit]

In 2017, the Lesotho Ministry of Health licensed a South African firm to grow cannabis in Lesotho for medical and scientific purposes, the first such authorized establishment in Africa.[5]

In late 2017/early 2018, the Lesotho government licensed 5 companies to produce medical marijuana. Three of these companies have been partially, or entirely acquired by established licensed Canadian producers:

  • Verve Dynamics - roughly 30% ownership by Aphria (Canada)[6]
  • MediGrow Lesotho - 10% acquired by Supreme Cannabis (Canada)[7]
  • Daddy-Cann - 100% acquired by Canopy Growth (Canada)[8]
  • Medi-Kingdom - 100% owned Medi-Kingdom (UK)
  • Pharmaceuticals Development Corp (PDC) - Now owned by Corix (US)[9]
  • Bophelo Bioscience and Wellness PTY - 20% acquired by Halo Labs Inc (Canada)[10]
  • WeGROW Medical Cannabis Lesotho- 80% owned by ASIF420 (Israel) [1]


In one joint South African-Lesotho operation in 2006, 47 tons of cannabis were seized.[11] Cultivation is for the most part tolerated, however, due to the high rate of poverty in the nation and the economic benefits that the cannabis trade provides.[1]


In 2001, Lesotho drafted the Drugs of Abuse Bill, which brought Lesotho into line with numerous international drugs law standards, including the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Cannabis in Lesotho". Sensi Seeds. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  2. ^ Jean Grugel; Daniel Hammett (10 June 2016). The Palgrave Handbook of International Development. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 408–. ISBN 978-1-137-42724-3.
  3. ^ Isidro Marín Gutiérrez (April 2010). Cannabis: el movimiento cannábico en España. Popular. ISBN 9788478844654.
  4. ^ a b c Alain Labrousse; Laurent Laniel (29 June 2013). The World Geopolitics of Drugs, 1998/1999. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 246–. ISBN 978-94-017-3505-6.
  5. ^ Lesotho Just Granted Africa's First Legal Marijuana License - OkayAfrica
  6. ^ "Aphria Forms Landmark Venture with South African Company Verve Group of Companies".
  7. ^ "Lesotho attracts another major medical cannabis investment". 21 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Canopy Growth Corporation announces entry into the African market with acquisition of Daddy Cann Lesotho".
  9. ^ "Marijuana & Cannabis News, Reviews & Reports".
  10. ^ "Halo Collective to Expand Globally and Acquire Bophelo Bioscience". 2019-06-17. Retrieved 2019-07-23.
  11. ^ United Nations: International Narcotics Control Board (1 February 2007). Report of the International Narcotics Control Board 2006. United Nations Publications. pp. 38–. ISBN 978-92-1-148218-8.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Graeme R. Newman (19 October 2010). Crime and Punishment around the World [4 volumes]: [Four Volumes]. ABC-CLIO. pp. 113–. ISBN 978-0-313-35134-1.

Further reading[edit]