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The evolving legal geographies of cannabis production and livelihoods in Lesotho

Authors: Julian Bloomer*, Mary Immaculate College
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Africa, Agricultural Geography
Keywords: Cannabis, Lesotho, rural livelihoods, development
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Since Lesotho became the first African country to grant licenses for medical cannabis production, cannabis growing in the country exists in different legal states, from medically approved plants that are grown with heavy, capital intensive investment, to illicit rural production. The arrival of medical cannabis production has been heralded by some with new developmental optimism based on the potential contribution to the country’s economy. With a rural population that in some areas is already significantly dependent on illicit cannabis production, the impact on those involved and dependent upon the illicit economy is far from clear. This paper will examine the shifting legal geographies and present findings from a longitudinal research project examining rural livelihoods in a cannabis dependent community and seek to identify possible scenarios that the arrival of legal medical cannabis production may have.

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