By / February 17, 2022

South Africa To Speed up Regulation of Its Cannabis Industry

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa wants to speed up the regulation of the cannabis industry in South Africa.

The president said in his state of the nation address on Thursday that hemp and cannabis production could create 130 000 new jobs. Creating a regulatory and policy framework for the industry is now a priority.

“We want to harness that,” said Ramaphosa. “We will fast-track policy and regulations for the use of cannabis for medical purposes, particularly in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal” to ensure that cannabis realizes its “huge” investment and job creation potential.

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Finally Implementing Cannabis Legalisation in South Africa

Plans to legalize cannabis in South Africa must also make headway, despite being stalled in parliament since late 2020.

In 2017, South Africa’s constitutional court ruled that the government could not prevent citizens from growing and consuming cannabis in their homes. This ruling gave lawmakers two years to propose legislation. The bill that came to fruition in 2020 was nevertheless widely criticized for its harsh penalties and confusing rules.

Under the bill, people who use cannabis in public can be jailed for up to two years, and if they do so in front of children, they face four years behind bars.

The bill removed the minor offenses but did not specify enforcement measures. It also failed to provide rules for marketing cannabis in South Africa, which has largely prevented the development of an industry.

The bill also benefited those with space to grow and consume cannabis in peace, while the harsh penalties would put more pressure on poor and vulnerable communities.

South African Department of Agriculture Responds

In response to this unpopular bill in South Africa, the South African Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) introduced a cannabis master plan last summer to finally get the industry off the ground.

The plan creates a seed registration and certification system in South Africa, while drawing on traditional knowledge to support research and development. It aims to provide technical and financial support to farmers and develop the local market while facilitating exports for South African products. It also implements education and training programs.

The bill is currently before the South African parliament.


(Photo by Den Harrson via Unsplash)

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