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Location of Malawi within Africa

Malawi, officially the Republic of Malawi, is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west. The country is separated from Tanzania and Mozambique by Lake Malawi. The country is also nicknamed "The Warm Heart of Africa".[1]


Cannabis is a major part of Malawian culture and lifestyle and the country is one of the largest producers of the plant in Southern Africa.[2] Colloquially known as chamba, some of the finest sativas in Africa can be found here, and a small but significant tourist industry has sprung up as cannabis connoisseurs from all over the world venture there to sample the crop, particularly Malawian Gold. Cannabis is illegal in Malawi, but the country has consistently produced large illicit harvests for many years; after South Africa, Malawi produces the largest amount of cannabis in southern Africa (and after Morocco too, the third largest in Africa). Up until the 1930s, the authorities in Malawi did not focus their attention on cannabis—indeed, it was only after 1961, with the signing of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, that growers and traffickers became subject to punishment. Since then, the nation has struggled to impose order, with few resources and heavy dependence on foreign assistance. Due to the extreme levels of poverty among Malawi’s rural populations, cannabis cultivation is increasingly attractive to farming communities, and cultivation sites have sprung up in many regions.[3]

Rastafari in Malawi have gone to court to demand their right to smoke cannabis. In 2000, the government briefly explored the possible legalization of Indian hemp, despite police warnings of potential abuse by cannabis growers. This was championed in parliament by Deputy Minister of Agriculture Joe Manduwa who argued that the plant could be a valuable alternative to tobacco. The idea was supported by member of parliament and medical doctor, Hetherwick Ntaba who argued that it is non-addictive.[4]

Additional Resources


  1. Malawi, The Warm Heart of Africa (January 26, 2011), Network of Organizations for Vulnerable & Orphan Children
  2. [1] (2014),
  3. Cannabis in Malawi (July 4, 2013), Sensi Seeds
  4. AFRICA | Legal hemp for Malawi? (April 24, 2010), BBC News


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