After consideration and approval by the Cabinet, in its session of 12 October 2020, the Rwandan parliament adopted a ministerial order providing for the legal use, cultivation, processing and distribution of marijuana.
« Operations related to the cultivation, distribution and use of cannabis and cannabis products shall be carried out in private or public establishments that have received a licence to that effect from the competent authority and shall be carried out in the places of business of such establishments or in any other place approved by the competent authority, » the law states.
The licences and permits include the cultivation licence, the import licence for seeds, genetic material and other planting materials, the export licence for seeds, genetic material and other planting materials, and the processing licence for cannabis products.
Others include the Cannabis Product Import Permit, the Cannabis Product Export Permit, the Certificate of Registration of Finished Cannabis Products and the Research Permit.
Each licence and permit is categorised and broken down according to specific activities. Non-compliance with these provisions carries heavy penalties.
For example, the medical use of marijuana products can only be done if prescribed by a medical specialist.
At the same time, the competent authority suspends a licence if the licence holder does not comply with the provisions of the ministerial order and the relevant laws or regulations.
The operator whose licence has been suspended may appeal to the competent authority within one month from the date of notification of the decision to suspend the licence.
An operator of activities related to cannabis and cannabis products who violates the conditions of the licence shall be guilty of misconduct.
Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 18 and Article 19 of this order, the competent authority shall impose an administrative fine of a minimum of Rwf 1 million and a maximum of Rwf 50 million.
In the event of a repeat offence, the administrative fine is doubled.
Each licence has a duration of five years, renewable.
The conditions of some licences are strict and too strict.
For example, an operator of cannabis and cannabis products activities provides a security plan to the Rwanda National Police for approval.
The security plan states that the operator of cannabis and cannabis products activities must at least have a double layer fence.
The licensee must also hire a licensed private security company, install security lighting and video surveillance cameras, to name a few.
The Rwanda National Police must conduct regular audits of the security plan.
The law has been published for the public.