Cannabis licensing torch storm

Cannabis licensing torch storm

MASERU – HEALTH Minister Nkaku Kabi was the only one directly involved in granting licences to players in the cannabis industry in Lesotho, thepost heard this week.

The stunning disclosure raises serious questions about the integrity of the cannabis licensing process. The Deputy Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Hlompho Mpeta, admitted there was something odd about the operations of the cannabis unit.

He said only the minister was directly involved in the matter.
Mpeta was speaking to a parliamentary portfolio committee on natural resources this week.

“Cannabis issues are not worked out just like any other issues in the ministry but directly and separately by the minister,” Mpeta said.
He said they have raised concern as the ministry’s management that the issues should be addressed and worked out within the parameters of the law.
Mpeta said their calls were in vain.

He said even the Principal Secretary’s Office was not involved in the allocation of licences.  The Principal Secretary, Thebe Mokoatle, conceded that he had never seen cannabis issues on his desk.

He said applications for licences go straight to the minister’s office.
The committee also heard that some cannabis licence holders received licences even though they had not paid any fees.

The ministry’s licensing officer, Jeminah Mphoso, said there are some people who have acquired cannabis licenses without paying any fee.
Mphoso told the committee that they are guided by the narcotics board when issuing out licenses.

She said there should be a Narcotics Secretariat that is mandated to do day-to-day functions of the secretariat. When contacted last night, Kabi said the gazette states that it is the minister who has to deal with the cannabis licences. “What I am doing is within the law,’’ he said.

Nkheli Liphoto

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