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South Africa: Cannabis industry plans have stalled, how to get them moving?

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa recently reiterated plans to accelerate the commercialization of hemp as well as cannabis plants. His speech setting out the government's priorities for 2023 was a reminder of a pledge in 2022 – also in his state of the nation address – that the government would mobilize investment in the hemp and cannabis sectors. 

In his speech, the president indicated that government is in the process of addressing the conditions for the growth of the cannabis sector, particularly for rural farmers. The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, and the Department of Health are working closely to address the existing conditions for growing hemp and cannabis to enable outdoor cultivation and harvesting by rural farmers.

Currently, farmers who have licenses grow their hemp and cannabis indoors under controlled conditions. Commercialization will allow them to farm outdoors on a larger scale.

This is very exciting. The industry has the potential to create jobs, alleviate poverty and help reduce the extreme inequality in South Africa. One estimate is that the sector has the potential to create more than 130,000 new jobs.


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