For the country of Malawi, tobacco has been the main crop they have exported for years. At its peak, they were bringing in $350 million yearly. But now it’s down to $200 million, and with the growing awareness of tobacco’s dangers across the globe, the demand will continue to dwindle.

So the President, Lazarus Chakwera, is looking to branch out. “The inconvenient truth … is that while Malawi has come a long way by relying on tobacco as our … largest single crop contributor to our GDP, this reliance is now seriously threatened by declining demand worldwide,” Chakwera said.

They’re turning their eye towards different crops, including cannabis.

“Clearly we need to diversify and grow other crops like cannabis, which was legalized last year for industrial and medicinal use.”

Last February the country legalized cultivation of the plant for medicines and hemp fibre. It is not yet legal for recreational use, but if the direction of the country is going towards large productions of marijuana, full legalization will surely be in its future.

Zambia, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe are other South African countries that have relaxed laws on marijuana in the recent past.

For instance, Bloomberg reports that Zimbabwe has just made it easier to grow cannabis in the country. There was a rule that required co-ownership between the government and the grower when the crop was marijuana. That rule has now been abolished.

Exports for cannabis have just over-performed exports for tobacco.

Read the original Malawi story at KFGO.