In eSwatini, Citizens Doubt Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana, but Few would Report Violations

The southern African Kingdom of eSwatini may be world-famous for its marijuana varietal “Swazi Gold,” but growing the crop is illegal in the country. However, the government recently granted a 10-year license to U.S.-based Profile Solutions Inc. to operate a growing farm and processing plant for medical cannabis and industrial hemp. And the government’s website says that, “in anticipating significant economic and medical benefit from the legalization of cannabis for medical and scientific use,” it is “working on an enabling legislative environment for this purpose.” The site links to proposed regulations and invites website visitors to review and comment on them. According to the most recent Afrobarometer survey in eSwatini, a majority of citizens disapprove of broadly legalizing the cultivation of marijuana and think that doing so would harm their country. However, most say they would not report someone who was illegally growing or selling marijuana. The survey did not explore views on more limited steps, such as legalization of medical marijuana and hemp.