Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima has offered to legalise marijuana (hemp) should he be voted as President in 2019 Tripartite Elections.

Chilima made the remarks during a political rally that UTM held at Nkhotakota LEA School ground.

The UTM (formerly United Transformation Movement) president said Malawi stands to benefit economically with the legalization.

“Our friends in South Africa, Canada, and the US are legalising marijuana. Let us not lag far much behind when the legalisation would push Malawi’s economic growth” said Chilima.

Chilima urged the country to speed up research on medical marijuana. He warned that his sentiments were not in support of growing and smoking of cannabis, the recreation drug.

Recently, South Africa legalised the use cannabis and the growing of marijuana, known in Malawi as chamba, for adult private consumption following a decision by the country’s court.

South Africa’s government’s had opposed its legalisation, arguing the drug was “harmful” to people’s the health.

Three South African cannabis users who had faced prosecution for using bemp brought the case, saying the ban “intrudes unjustifiably into their private spheres”.

South Africa joins Zimbabwe which in April became the second country in Africa, after Lesotho, to legalise the use of marijuana for medical use.