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INSET: Defence Attorney Charles McErick

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Court to deliver hemp judgement next year

Judgement in a case in which a local company, Fresh Standard (Pty) LTD, is accused of illegally growing hemp in the country has been set for January next year before Gaborone High Court Judge, Chris Gabanagae.

Fresh Standard was granted written exemption to produce hemp for industrial and medical purposes in 2018 by the then Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Patrick Ralotsia.

On the 29th of March 2019, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary withdrew the exemption without consulting Ralotsia.

In his argument, Fresh Standard attorney- Charles McErick, said his client spent millions in the production process after the exemption. He said they were producing hemp, not dagga and that it was to be used for medical and industrial purposes in the country.

“My client was shocked to see representatives of the Narcotics Squad of the police arriving at the farm where he had planted its crop in greenhouse tunnels. They uprooted the plants and removed them from the farm. They claimed it was dagga but they never made any tests to prove whether it was actually what they though it was. This application is on whether the withdrawal of that exemption was made by the relevant authority. Ralotsia was not consulted and he even filed an affidavit to say he was not aware of this withdrawal and did not delegate the PS to withdraw the exemption,” said McErick.

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Judge Gabanagae will deliver the judgement on the 21st of January next year.

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