The High Court in Botswana has upheld Fresh Standard (Pty) Limited's exclusive rights to produce hemp and cannabis for industrial and medical purposes in the country. This is contained in a ruling by Gaborone High Court Judge Chris Gabanagae's in the case in which the company owned by farmer Barend de Beer sued the government.
In October 2018, through the ministry of agriculture, De Beer was granted an exemption and license to grow hemp and cannabis for industrial and medicinal purposes. However, months later on 7 May 2019, the Botswana police's narcotics unit raided his farm and uprooted young plants in his nursery.
The farmer was later told that his license had been withdrawn by the permanent secretary in the agriculture ministry. He then approached the courts arguing that he had a valid permit for the business. He further argued that he stood to lose business worth R1 million (750 000 Botswanan pula) to supply hemp oil and medicinal by-products.
In awarding Fresh Standard permission to continue its business, in a first-of-its-kind court case in Botswana, Justice Gabanagae, noted that the permanent secretary had acted outside of his jurisdiction.
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