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Fired Ralotsia, Boko agree on Industrial Hemp

Publishing Date : 13 May, 2019

Author : UTLWANANG GASENNELWE

Minister of Agricultural Development, and Food Security and Kanye North law maker Patrick Pule Ralotsia was this week dropped from cabinet under mysterious circumstances.


While it is still unclear why Ralotsi was ejected from cabinet, an impeccable source told Weekend Post this week that the Minister is a big proponent of legalisation of marijuana and Industrial Hemp and has made it known. “He is a proponent of Industrial Hemp. He loves it and uses its products,” the source said while adding that the law is silent on the Industrial Hemp: “it is not illegal, the law is just silent.” In its application, hemp and marijuana serve completely different purposes.


Marijuana, as it is widely known, is used for medicinal or recreational purposes. Hemp is used in variety of other applications that marijuana couldn’t possibly be used in. These include healthy dietary supplements, skin products, clothing, and accessories. Overall, hemp is known to have over 25,000 possible applications. Information reaching Weekend Post suggests that Ralotsia want marijuana and the Hemp legalised and he has tabled his proposal to both cabinet level as well as to the president, Mokgweetsi Masisi.  


“He even consulted the police and the relevant Ministry. At some stage they were working on drafting the law but the ministry dragged its feet,” the immaculate source told this publication. At some point, the source reminisced how the Ministry of Agriculture gave him a permit to import Hemp seeds but it was cancelled off at the behest of the then Assistant minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Biggie Butale.


“They wanted me to bring the permit back to the office.  Maybe it’s because I have publicly talked about it and therefore it wouldn’t look right to them,” he said adding that he exchanged notes with Ralotsi and they share similar sentiments on the industrial hemp. He maintained that: “I think I jumped the gun by making the permit public, I don’t think they would have cancelled it. I wanted the industrial hemp plant, as a pilot project, as it can do 500 products.”


It is understood that the problem with Ralotsia came when it was found that the Leader of Opposition in parliament Duma Gideon Boko presented a similar proposal calling for the legalisation of Industrial Hemp when responding to the Budget Speech earlier this year in parliament. In his statement in parliament, Boko has cited that the legalisation of Marijuana for industrialisation purposes could improve the economy.


He said “let me focus on just hemp and demonstrate the massive job creation opportunities it offers. It is a source of food for both humans and pets. It is used to produce body oils and lotions as well as many other oil based products. It is used in the manufacture of clothing such as jeans and sports clothing. Plastic products made from hemp are generally biodegradable. Hemp is an agricultural crop that thrives in many environments.”


According to the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader, hemp offers a yield of about P13.37 per plant and up to 12 500 000 plants per 5000 acres, that gives P 167 125 000 per 5000 acres. “Hemp growers employ about 10 000 people to maintain a 10 000 hectare farm. The result is the creation of a minimum of 12 000 jobs just from this scale of hemp farming. Thus when we advocate for innovation, inventiveness and imagination, this is exactly what we are talking about. We ascend to higher levels of thinking and planning known as disruptive thinking and disruptive technologies,” he said.


Now, the immaculate source maintained that “they think it wouldn’t look right if the plan goes ahead especially after the opposition leader Boko spoke at length about legalising the Industrial Hemp,” he stated. Just this week, Permanent Secretary to the President and Secretary to cabinet, Carter Morupisi, on behalf of President Masisi announced the cabinet reshuffle that both Ralotsi has been released of his ministerial positions with immediate effect.


When reached for a comment, Ralotsia told this publication that he was in government offices at the time and was not able to respond adding that he be called after an hour after which he did not answer the phone. After firing Ralotsia, Masisi appointed Fidelis Mmilili Molao as a full Minister of Agricultural Development, and Food Security.

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