Nica Richards
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
15 Apr 2021
4:19 pm

Lesotho the first in Africa to legally export medical weed

Nica Richards

Fewer than 20 companies worldwide have been able to achieve becoming aligned with the EU’s Good Manufacturing Practice standards.

Picture: iStock

 

A Lesotho-based medicinal cannabis cultivator and manufacturer recently became the first African country able to legally export medical cannabis to the European Union (EU). 

MG Health got the nod that their manufacturing processes are now officially aligned with the EU’s Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards. 

Fewer than 20 companies worldwide have been able to achieve this, which is a “massive achievement” for Lesotho’s economy, MG Health business development manager Luke van der Next said. 

“Having a GMP means we can access global markets. It means MG Health can access and tap into the global supply chain, a significant first for Africa.” 

He said at present, Germany was their largest medical cannabis patient-based market. 

But this feat came with its fair share of challenges, including being told back in 2017 that an African country would never be able to achieve an EU GMP. 

“That’s when we decided that’s what we want to do and look at us three years later. We have created a stake in the ground that shows Africa is ready to compete, can comply and does have the skills to tackle the global market.” 

Africa also provides prime growing conditions and cost bases for the cannabis industry to thrive, once legislation catches up. 

“This is the first step in a formative moment for Africa’s cannabis economy.” 

Not only has Lesotho set the bar for the rest of the continent, MG Health is now the largest employer of Bachelor of Science graduates in Lesotho. 

Van der Next said MG Health plans to remain in Lesotho at present, with the country being “part of our company DNA”. 

Plus, there is the added advantage that MG Health operates in the pristine Maluti mountains, with clean air and water, no contaminants and no airborne pesticides. 

“Once legislation comes onboard, we want to serve Africa. But for now, we want to continue this way before we start looking outward.”