South Africa Unveils US $1.9 billion Cannabis Industry Plan

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Officials in South Africa have unveiled a plan for the nation’s cannabis industry that is approximately $19 billion in US currency. As part of the plan, the National Strategy could create 25,000 jobs. The move also intends to encourage foreign investment.

Two Year Process

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development has proposed a two-year process for commercializing cannabis. The documents used came from major cannabis producers, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and China. The country, which legalized cannabis for personal use in 2018, is slowly taking steps towards industrialization.

“Establishment of the cannabis industry will lead to diversification of the economy and thus increase economic growth, create jobs and for poverty alleviation,” the department said Wednesday in a presentation to lawmakers. It identified legislative restrictions and “the threat of takeover or dominance” by well-funded companies and pharmacy groups as the main challenges to the industry.

Hemp and cannabis cultivation are the two key priorities within this plan. Applications will range from medicine and food to creational use. Once implements, local and export markets will have a much high volume and variety of cannabis.

Roadblocks for Cannabis

Although these are great steps moving forward, there are a few roadblocks in the way. Mainly, the department needs to address several issues, including regulations, seed distribution, and education initiatives. Finally, there are seven “key pillars” that the department has identified for the cannabis department:

Effective regulatory systems- This pillar focuses on developing a new regulatory framework for both hemp and dagga.

Sustainable seed supply system- This pillar will focus on the production, processing, packaging, and trade of seed and related products.

Research and technology development- This pillar will support research and development programs for the South African cannabis industry.

Sustainable producer support systems- This pillar will focus on mobilization and supporting farmers in the cannabis value chains. This also involves the inclusion of current “illegal” dagga growers into the formal system.

Market development- The pillar will develop new domestic and export markets for the South African cannabis industry.

Supplier development- This pillar focuses on supporting a wide range of suppliers to participate in the cannabis value chains to ensure sustainable growth and development of this industry.

Manufacturing and product development- This pillar will focus on supporting the growth and development of the manufacturing sector for cannabis products.

Following the seven pillars, the department recognizes two pillars as their foundation:

Education- This pillar is focused on providing a framework on education and training matters in support of the cannabis industry

Communication- This pillar is focused on communicating an unambiguous message about the cannabis industry and related matters to all stakeholders and the general public.

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