In 2017, Lesotho became the first African nation to issue licenses for the cultivation of medical cannabis. The small mountain kingdom, which is bordered on all sides by South Africa, is one of the continent’s poorest countries. Although cannabis is a traditional crop in Lesotho, most legacy farmers will likely be unable to afford to go legal–licenses cost in the range of $10,000.
Meanwhile, foreign investors have dumped tens of millions of dollars into the budding industry. Highlands Investments (formerly Canopy Growth Africa) was granted one of the first and largest licenses to cultivate, manufacture, supply, import and export medical cannabis products including flower, oil, distillate and isolate.
Highlands has two sites in Lesotho. Canopy Growth invested over $35 million to develop the facilities, which are now wholly owned by Highlands. Each site includes growing, processing, and packaging facilities that comply to international and local regulations. After three successful harvests, Highlands is now entering its fourth grow season.
Their latest venture, Canna-Tract, will allow companies to cultivate cannabis to their specific requirements under the care of Highland’s team, who will grow, harvest, and process the cannabis flower. Clients can select or supply genetics and choose the final product form (flower or extract). After harvesting and processing the product will be stored at Highlands’ warehouse until it is ready to be shipped to its final destination.
“Canna-Tract provides clients looking to grow commercial volumes of medical-grade cannabis the ability to do so without having to obtain a license or invest the significant capital required to ensure medical grade product,” Highlands Investments Managing Director, Mark Corbett said in a press release. “We believe that our cost per hectare model will result in one of the lowest cultivation costs per gram today.”