Mozambique’s tax authorities issued a statement on July 1, reporting on the circulation and marketing of an energy drink called Cannabis Energy Drink.
The tax authorities’ document stated that the drink was to be withdrawn from the Mozambican market. Although the drink does not contain marijuana and does not have hallucinogenic properties, some officials fear it will encourage the consumption of illegal narcotics in the country.
According to the brand’s Facebook page, the drink has been marketed at least since 2012 in Mozambique, although the most recent post was in 2013.
The energy drink has the image of a Cannabis sativa leaf, which allegedly violates the country’s drug laws. Authorities say the drink encourages the consumption of cannabis, which is banned in Mozambique.
The ban decreed by the Mozambican authorities comes at a time when countries in the southern region where Mozambique is located are discussing ways to legalize marijuana, as was the case in Zimbabwe, in 2018, and most recently in Zambia.
In 2018, South Africa, bordering Mozambique, legalized the use of cannabis in private places. South African courts have also authorized the cultivation of cannabis and have ruled that the right to privacy “extends beyond the boundaries of a house”.
At the time, many Mozambicans reacted to the decriminalization of cannabis in South Africa with humor and concern – mainly because, as early as 2005, South Africa had been considered the largest cannabis producer in the southern African region, according to a study by the International Narcotics Control Agency.
In this context, the Trade Regulatory Authority notified employees and sales agents that they would not import, let alone sell such a drink as of July 1, 2021.
It is not clear where ‘Cannabis Energy Drink’ is produced, although its official website lists the Netherlands as the host country.
The controversy has sparked debate among users of social media platforms. Some understood the decision, but others felt the ban was inappropriate, not least because the drink has no hallucinogenic effects. In other words, it does not create any physical effects on the consumer because it does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main substance responsible for the psychic effects of cannabis in the body.
Some have called for the decision by the Mozambican authorities to have at least a scientific basis, as Professor Celestino Joanguete commented:
The scientific study which proves the causal link between the consumption of the aforementioned energy drink and its main raw material remains to be attached to this customs document.
Zenaida Machada, journalist and researcher at Human Rights Watch, does not understand the decision and draws a parallel with the weapon that appears on the flag of Mozambique:
Mozambique has banned the sale of the energy drink “Cannabis”, according to an official document, the image of cannabis on the can prompts people to use drugs. Following this logic, maybe they should consider banning the country’s flag because AK47’s image could make people kill? pic.twitter.com/5hSg3r6LMV
– Zenaida Machado (@zenaidamz) July 5, 2021
Lawyer Stayleir Marroquim had an equal interpretation in a Facebook post:
Se a imagem da “cannabis sativa” numa bebida energética incita, segundo uma certa entidade pública, o consumo da “cannabis”, então fico com medo do dia em que a mesma entidade pública decidir interpretar o que incita a imagem da arma AKM (mortífera do mundo) que está na nossa Bandeira nacional.
Essa coisa de “interpretação” semper deu muito trabalho, desde os tempos lá da primária quando estudavamos a “leitura e interpretação de textos”.
Um fim de semana energético, mas comedido, para todos.
If the image of “cannabis sativa” in an energy drink encourages, according to a certain public entity, the consumption of “cannabis”, then I am afraid of the day when the same public entity decides to interpret what stimulates the image of the AKM weapon (over world) which is on our national flag.
This “interpretation” thing has always been a lot of work, since the days when, in elementary school, we studied “reading and interpreting texts”.
An energetic but discreet weekend for everyone.
The decision to ban the energy drink has also sparked a different kind of debate around the legalization of cannabis.
make weed legal, please
– Palloma Matusse (@pallomagpm) July 5, 2021
Você é a favor da legalização do consumo da Cannabis (Suruma)? 🚬
– Mulungo do Chives (@criticoesocial) July 5, 2021
Are you in favor of legalizing the use of Cannabis (Suruma)? 🚬
– Mulungo do Chiveve (@criticoesocial) July 5, 2021