A police officer has been arrested after he was busted with six bales of mbanje. He was arrested on Friday morning near Marondera.
According to sources who spoke to state media, the suspect whose name has not been released is in active service and holds the rank of constable. In fact, when he was arrested he was dressed in his police uniform.
The police officer was arrested after his fellow law enforcement colleagues intercepted him with the bales of the drug. He was arrested after he failed to give satisfactory responses on why he was in posession of the dangerous drug.
The six bales of mbanje were later weighed and were found to have a total weight of almost 140 kilograms.
The police are yet to comment on the arrest of the police officer. Zimbabwe Republic Police national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said he was yet to receive any information on the case.
Although other countries in the world are moving towards or have already legalized mbanje for personal consumption, in Zimbabwe it is still classified as a dangerous drug.
Contrary to popular opinion, mbanje was not legalised in Zimbabwe. In 2018, the government legalized the production of cannabis (mbanje or dagga) for medicinal or scientific purposes.
Not anyone can grow the mbanje for medicinal or scientific purposes though. The grower needs a special licence. Initially, the government demanded a USD 50 000 application fee for prospective growers which was later reduced to USD 10 000.
In early 2019 it was reported that out of over 200 applications, only 37 were approved.
Growing, researching or dealing in industrial hemp also requires a permit. There are three types: general grower’s, research and breeding, and industrial hemp merchant’s. The application fee for the first two, and the renewal fee, is US$200. The merchant needs to fork out US$500.