Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng has distanced herself from reports circulating that she is a director in Together Pharma, a company growing cannabis (marijuana) for health purposes in the country.
Dr Aceng was accused of using her influence to fast track licensing of two companies to grow marijuana for medical export and to set up research laboratories in Uganda.
An online news outlet Interrogator UG said that several companies that have applied to get licences to grow marijuana for medical purposes are crying foul after two companies that applied recently acquired licences with Aceng’s help.
“There are very many pharmaceutical companies from Canada, USA, Israel, Uganda and other countries that have been processing documentation for licenses and permits to grow marijuana but to date the red tape and bureaucracy involved in the process has frustrated their efforts, yet two new entrants recently scooped authorization to set up their projects, thank to Dr Aceng’s blessing!” the website reported.
Even with a brochure circulating online that listed her as one of the directors, Dr Aceng has distanced herself from the reports.
“I have seen social media posts alleging that I am in trouble over Cannabis and others saying I am dealing in cannabis. It’s unfortunate that some people always choose to circulate wrong information. I wish to categorically state that I am not involved in growing Cannabis and I am in no trouble over Cannabis,” Dr Aceng took to social media to give her side of the story yesterday.
“I have not issued any authorization for cannabis growing in Uganda. Cabinet is yet to consider the feasibility of this. Until then, I request the population to ignore the wrong media posts and treat it baseless and malicious,” she added.
Uganda is in the process of licencing several firms to grow and export marijuana and several requirements have been put in place for any company wishing to grow the crop for medical purposes. First, one needs to present capital of Shs18.3 billion shillings. Secondly, the company is required to present a tax clearance certificate from Uganda Revenue Authority, plus lists of employees and their description, a valid addition to cannabis and audited accounts.
The marijuana farms must not be located near schools, hospitals and residential areas and in case of any associates /business partners, the details must be disclosed to government, including site designs, a robust security system with access control system and intrusion systems in place.
Government has formed a committee to screen over the 100 applicants, including both foreign and local companies that want to join the marijuana growing business. Already, Industrial Hemp Uganda Ltd has been authorized to grow and export the crop and it is working with Together Pharma that has been linked to Aceng.