Medical Marijuana in Rwanda

The Business of Medical Marijuana in Rwanda

Rwanda has approved the the growing, processing and medical use of cannabis in the country on June 28th.  What does that mean exactly?  Well, if you don’t read the Ministerial Order clearly, you can still be liable.  We know that marijuana, weed or good ol’ Mary Jane is a multi-billion dollar industry, Rwanda is now ready to put their hat in the game.

Licensing for operations

Individuals and firms interested in any of the processes relating to cultivation, distribution and use of Marijuana will be required to apply and receive prerequisite licensing by competent authorities and must only undertake operations at places of business of those establishments or at such other places as may be approved by the competent authority.

Not for recreational purposes

Nope, the homies can’t have none. The new order does not in any way have provisions for cultivation, processing or use of cannabis for recreational purposes in the country.

Persons found to use, cultivate or sell marijuana outside the set order will be considered to be handling narcotics which is punishable by law.

Medical use only

The new ministerial order has provisions for medical use of cannabis and cannabis products in the country but noted that it can only be made on condition that they are prescribed by a specialist medical doctor.

For this purpose, the order specifies that a specialized medical doctor is one whom the Ministry of Health has given, in writing, the authority to prescribe cannabis and cannabis products for use by a patient.

Types of licenses

According to the ministerial order, the cannabis value chain will have specific roles with up to eight licenses and permits required.

Types of licenses and certification include:
  • cultivation license
  • import permit for seeds
  • genetic materials and other planting material
  • export permit for seed
  • genetic materials and other planting materials.
  •  cannabis and cannabis products processing license
  • cannabis and cannabis products import permit
  • cannabis and cannabis product export permit.
  • finished cannabis and cannabis products registration certificate and research license.

The licenses provided will have a validity of a period of a renewable 5 years renewable.

Security checklist

According to the new order, operators of activities related to cannabis and cannabis products will be required to provide a security plan to the Rwanda National Police for approval.

The said security plan will go to prove that the operator of activities related to cannabis and cannabis products will take appropriate measures and put up security installations.

Among the elements of the security plan include; having double-layered fencing; ensuring patrol control in between the two layers of the fence;  hiring a licensed private security service company that must be securing outside 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

The facility will also be expected to have security lighting, video surveillance cameras, watchtowers, intrusion detection, system and communication control room.

The firms will also be required to prove that the staff and any other persons authorized to enter the facility wear personnel protective equipment without pockets that are kept in a designated area.

Suspension of a license

If and when a license holder is found to be non-compliant with the provisions stipulated in the order, the competent authority will be at liberty to suspend the license.

An operator whose license has been suspended may appeal to the competent authority within a period of one month from the date of notification of the decision of suspension of the license.

Administrative fines

Operators of activities related to cannabis and cannabis products who are found in violation of the license conditions could also be subject to fines imposed by authority of not less than Rwf1,000,000 and not more than Rwf50,000,000 that will be deposited on the account of the competent authority.

In case of repeat offence the administrative fine could be doubled.

Traceability and reporting

Firms and individuals of activities related to cannabis and cannabis products will also be expected to document the entire supply and value chain processes of cannabis and cannabis products and make them available to authorities when requested.

The licensee will be required to report to the competent authority in accordance with the requirements set up.


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