WATCH | Legalise it and SA will be dope globally

SA’s cannabis industry is eyeing international growth, but is concerned about legalities

21 December 2021 - 15:23 By Demi Buzo

The conditions in which to grow cannabis in SA are almost too perfect. Climate and soil offer the opportunity for the plant to be cultivated outside in summer and for those who want to ensure year-round production, indoor facilities are cost-effective. 

With the global cannabis industry growing exponentially, many South African entrepreneurs want a slice of the pie. 

However, local cannabis enthusiasts and entrepreneurs worry SA could fall behind due to regulatory and legislative hindrances surrounding the industry. 

According to Cannabis Expo director Silas Howarth, the changes to cannabis legislation globally has “spurred massive growth in emerging markets, like in South Africa”.  

Despite growth in the country's industry, businesses face a number of challenges, including licensing, banking, shipping and the long-standing stigma surrounding the plant.  

There is also the growing issue of unregulated products which are cause for concern to consumer health. Additionally, these unregulated products affect the country's potential tax revenue. 

Local cannabis producers are eyeing German and US markets.
Local cannabis producers are eyeing German and US markets.
Image: 123RF/Eric Limon

Certified cannabis businesses in SA can cultivate, manufacture and process medicinal cannabis for export, but locally businesses are prohibited from trading. This type of cannabis can be used for pain relief associated with cancer and other illnesses. 

In SA, the government allows trade in CBD products, which originate from cannabis, but this is only one portion of the full value chain. 

Administrator of non-profit Fields of Green for All Charl Henning says prohibition of cannabis trade in SA is “the last apartheid law”.  

The department of agriculture, land reform and rural development estimates that the SA cannabis industry is worth R28bn and could create anywhere between 10,000 and 25,000 jobs, but legislation is yet to be finalised.

Now, parliament is considering the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill, which will regulate its use and cultivation in “a private place”. 

With the global cannabis industry on the rise, South African cannabis businesses and entrepreneurs believe that if the government implemented the correct controls for the trade of medicinal and recreational cannabis, the country would be able to reach its full potential and compete with industry leaders globally.


Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.