Q&A – 25 October 2021

Growing marijuana for consumption

I read an article in a newspaper that Uganda grows marijuana for exports to countries where that plant is allowed for individual consumption or it is used for manufacturing of human medicine. Is there any way of legally growing marijuana in Tanzania for export or for use as raw material in the local pharmaceutical industries to make human medicine?
SL, Arusha

Generally marijuana or cannabis sativa is still a prohibited plant in Tanzania. It seems in Uganda it is now a controlled substance. In Tanzania, it is contrary to section 11 of the Drug Control and Enforcement Act [Cap.95 R.E 2019] to grow, possess, supply, export, import, export, sell, purchase, transport or use marijuana for any purpose. Unlawful cultivation or exportation of marijuana from Tanzania to any country is an offence irrespective of the motive for growing the plant. It is an offence to transport or export marijuana from Tanzania to any country even if the country to which it is being exported permits its use as raw material for pharmaceutical industries or for personal consumption. The offence of unlawful cultivation or exportation of marijuana is very serious here and punishable by imprisonment for a minimum term of 30 years in jail.

However section 12 of the Drug Control and Enforcement Act confers on the Drug Control and Enforcement Authority power to make regulations prescribing the procedure for issuing a permit and regulate cultivation, gathering, storage, distribution, acquisition, storage, purchase, importation, possession, sale, transport, export, manufacture, use or consumption of marijuana on account of the Government. However, the Drug Control and Enforcement Authority has not made the regulations prescribing the procedure for lawful production or manufacture of medicinal products from marijuana or exportation of marijuana on account of the Government todate. This means there is no way a person can legally grow marijuana in Tanzania or manufacture human medicine from marijuana, export it or dealt with it in any manner mentioned above.

All in all, marijuana is still a prohibited substance in Tanzania until the Authority makes the regulations to prescribe the procedure for issuing a permit to export, grow or manufacture medicines from marijuana to make it a controlled substance.

Doctor reporting child’s sexual abuse

I am a doctor and in my work I sometimes attend children who have been sexually abused by a guardian, parent or near relative. One day while attending a child, in the course of interview with her mother, I realised that the child was sexually abused by a near relative but her mother had not reported the incident to the police and was unwilling to do so. As a doctor attending the child, do I have an obligation to report a child abuse to the police when I discover such abuse especially where the incident has not been reported to the police? Is there specific procedure for reporting child abuse to the police as opposed to other crimes? If I report this incident to the police but the parent who has the evidence does not cooperate with investigator for whatever reason, can the culprit later sue me for defamation?
HH, Dar

Article 26(2) of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania and section 7(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act [Cap.20 R.E 2019] imposes an obligation on every person who becomes aware of a crime to report it to the police as soon as he becomes aware of it. Since child sexual abuse is a serious crime punishable under the Penal Code, a doctor who gets information of commission of it has the duty to report such offence to the police if it has not been reported by anybody. The abuse being a penal offence is reported to the police just like other crimes. There is no specific procedure for reporting such abuse to the police and anybody can report it, not necessarily the parent, guardian, or relative. Subsection (2) of section 7 of the Criminal Procedure Act gives immunity to the informer against any civil suit which the suspect or the accused may institute against the informer provided the information given to the law enforcement agent was not actuated by malice.

As a doctor, and considering the position of the law and vulnerability of the victim, you have no choice but to report this to the police. Let the law take its course on the perpetrator.

Licence to manufacture local liquor

I have seen the market of traditional liquor commonly known as gongo in urban and rural areas as many people prefer it because it is cheaper and stronger compared to other liquors sold in bars. What is the legal procedure for getting a licence to distill and sell traditional liquor in Tanzania?
KB, Bukoba

A person who wishes to distill or manufacture traditional liquor has to lodged an application with the licencing authority in accordance with the form prescribed in the First Schedule to the Traditional Liquor (Control and Distillation) (Licencing) Regulations and by paying the prescribed application fee. According section 5 of the Traditional Liquor (Control of Distillation) Act [Cap.384 R.E 20002], a licencing authority for the purpose of issuing a permit to distill or manufacture traditional liquor is the Local Government Authority namely city council, municipal council, town council or district council having jurisdiction over the area(s) where the licencee intends to operate the business.

The Traditional Liquor (Control and Distillation) (Manufacture of Liquor) Order, specifies areas within which licences to manufacture gongo can be granted, and unfortunately Bukoba is not one of such areas. The areas specified by the law for grant of licence to manufacture traditional liquor are Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Tanga, Mtwara, Morogoro, Lindi and Dodoma only. The law also specifies agricultural products that may be used to manufacture gongo which are millet, maize, pawpaw, mabibo, pineapple and tembo.