|Map of Lesotho|
In Lesotho, Cannabis is a hard money commodity supporting families on a seasonal basis making up as much as 28% of a single household's sustaining income. In this region of the World, choices are reduced to working in the minefields of South Africa, growing Cannabis and breeding livestock. Cannabis production income percentages decrease as a part of total family income when one or more family members work in the mines, meaning the poorest families are more dependent on growing and selling Cannabis to guarantee food on the table.
|Lesotho Citizens Waiting to Vote|
Archeologists have found evidence of Cannabis use dated as far back as the 15th Century signifying Cannabis as a deep part of the indigenous culture here for much of human history. Here, Cannabis is referred to as ‘metakoane’ in the native language of Sesotha.
|Lesotho Farming Community|
Lesotho’s main exportable natural resource is water, so in 1998 construction began on the massive World Bank funded Lesotho Highlands Water Project. The project was completed in 2004 and provides water to the Gautang region of South Africa and hydro-electric power to Lesotho. The project displaced many families and farmers needing miles of roads, tunnels and facilities to be built to accommodate large scale export operations.
|Lesotho Highlands Water Project dam|
When the Cannabis Farmers complained the compensation offered was not comparable to the seasonal money received from growing Cannabis, the World Bank wanted to retract their offers for relocation help as Cannabis on the World market is an illicit crop. Local officials had to fight for these farmers and eventually won their case after civil unrest destroyed most of the infrastructure built in 1998.
|Phase 1 of Lesotho Water Project|
The companies being accused, including large European construction firms ABB Ltd., a Swiss–Swedish Firm, Spie Batignolles of France, Impregilo of Italy, ED Zueblin of Germany, Acres International of Canada to name a few, settled in court and one company was disbarred from the World Bank bidding process permanently. All of this happened just after the World Bank’s 1997 Anti-Corruption campaign denouncing bribery as a form of business in projects backed by the international money lender.
In most parts of Africa drug related policies are being amended increasing monetary penalties and prison sentences for the production and transportation of Cannabis. Farmers in Lesotho have receded deeper into the mountains and continue to produce Cannabis for most of South Africa.
|Lesotho Mother and Child|
Stephanie Bishop has worked with Doctors, Activists, Attorneys and Industry Professionals to help patients and the general public educate themselves about all aspects of the Cannabis plant. From every side of the movement, Stephanie brings news and trending conversation adding discussion topics and direct action to help people form a more in depth perception of prohibition.
Stephanie currently resides in Seattle WA and has worked locally with organizations like Seattle Hempfest, Americans for Safe Access and NORML to help spread the truth about the cannabis plant and the political battle to end the War on Drugs.