A Lesotho-based cannabis company is the first cannabis cultivator in Africa to get approval to export the medicinal cannabis flower as an Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) to the European Union. MG Health, which is a licensed cultivator and manufacturer of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis extracts and products, will now be exporting cannabis products to Germany. They are based outside of Lesotho’s capital, Maseru, in the mountainous region near Mohale Dam.
MG Health recently received certification as having met EU’s good manufacturing practice (GMP) standards. This is expected to turn the startup, only having opened its doors in 2017, into a profitable industry player by the end of the year. Their first exports will go directly to Germany which has the highest usage of medicinal cannabis in the EU. They still need to get the necessary import and export documentation ahead of their first shipment.
The first shipments to Germany are expected to begin in June and will be supplied to Drapalin Pharmaceuticals, a Munich-based importer and distributor which lodged the request for GMP approval for MG Health.
The cannabis company proudly states on their website, “MG Health operates in accordance and complies with strict GACP (Compliance Institute of Southern Africa) and EU GMP principles for cultivation, and processing of cannabis for the medicinal and pharmaceutical markets.” MG Health harvests a strain of marijuana with low levels of THC to comply with regulations. It exports CBD oil extracts and other medicinal cannabis products to South Africa.
MG Health is Lesotho’s biggest commercial cannabis producer. The company’s growth is also supported by Lesotho’s progressive cannabis cultivation laws. Lesotho was one of the first countries in Southern Africa to legalise the cultivation and use of medical marijuana in 2018. In the country, licences are issued by government for the cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Cannabis is a critical piece of the government’s agricultural strategy, which it hopes will help fund basic infrastructure such as roads and electricity.
There’s no doubt that an African company’s entry into the EU market will bring about major growth in the next few years with the potential to eventually enter other international markets too. This may lay the groundwork for other cannabis cultivators and manufacturers of cannabis products to look to expand beyond their country’s borders.