Cannabis industry has huge economic value for South Africa, but government dragging its feet

The Draft South African Cannabis Masterplan states that there are up to 900,000 traditional dagga growers in South Africa and that they and ‘dagga’ need to be included in the cannabis value chain, but makes no recommendation as to how this is to be achieved.
In the Country Investment Strategy (CIS) released mid-2022 by the Presidency for public comment, cannabis, alongside green hydrogen, is one of five big frontiers of government-identified strategic foreign direct investment opportunities designed to meet the ambitions of the National Development Plan (NDP).
On 29 November 2022, President Cyril Ramaphosa opened the green hydrogen summit where the government promoted green hydrogen as a key just-transition project with strong ministerial and interdepartmental support, along with dedicated coordination, personnel and financial resources.
Green hydrogen is hydrogen manufactured with renewable technologies. There is currently no green hydrogen manufactured in South Africa, but it has been identified to support a just transition to a climate-resilient and sustainable South African society. An estimated 1.3 million jobs could be created by 2050, helping to transform our existing grey hydrogen manufacturing capacity into green hydrogen through a significant increase in renewable energy availability.
In contrast, cannabis in South Africa, a natural green industrial economy commodity with massive job-creation opportunities, remains a grassroots struggle with little or no funding or political support beyond rhetoric and policy statements that never seem to translate into action.
Despite our country’s competitive advantage of sunlight hours, land, soil, water, and tens of thousands of heritage cannabis farmers growing drought-tolerant landrace genetics that could potentially form the backbone of cannabis industrialisation for the country in the hands of small-scale farmers – and the rural poor – there is no national cannabis coordination or budget allocated to develop the industry.
The Country Investment Strategy (CIS) proposes “State enablement of Big Frontier 4: Industrial Cannabis and other advanced agro-processing” by convening to process the recommendations of the Cannabis Industrialisation Master Plan through Cabinet via the interministerial committee on cannabis commercialisation.
Except the master plan is flawed due to being produced without an evidence-based approach towards developing a country-competitive strategy. Additionally, the interministerial committee on cannabis has not met for at least the past six months, probably longer.
The CIS also sets out to promote co-investment to mobilise cannabis production for export as part of the Special Economic Zones network, as well as to catalyse by gearing relevant land-release, land-reform and mining land reclamation programmes to identify land parcels that ...
13 Dec 2022 2PM English South Africa News · Daily News

Other recent episodes

Health in 2022 – a review of the year in under 1,000 words

An HIV prevention injection approved in South Africa, several promising developments on the tuberculosis front, the National Health Insurance Bill grinding its way through Parliament, no end in sight to healthcare worker shortages, another dire year for health in Gauteng – Spotlight wraps up 2022 in under 1,000 words. This…
19 Dec 2022 7AM 7 min

Ten ways to avoid falling victim to an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection

It’s time to take notice of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. It is not someone else’s problem. It affects you, whether or not you are the one taking antibiotics. The most common question I get from interviewers and the public when discussing the public health crisis around increasing rates of bacterial…
19 Dec 2022 5AM 19 min

South Africa to receive donation of new child-friendly drug-resistant TB medicines

The Department of Health is set to receive a donation of child-friendly formulations of several medicines used to treat drug-resistant tuberculosis. It is expected that over the next year the donation will spare roughly 200 children the substantial difficulties associated with taking DR-TB medicines meant for adults. The donations form…
19 Dec 2022 5AM 4 min

How to feed your baby – starting solids need not be scary

Starting the journey from breastmilk or formula to solid foods can be intimidating for many parents, but there is much helpful information and advice out there, so it need not be. The time when parents would begin to feed their babies solid foods (solids) has had a somewhat wobbly historical…
18 Dec 2022 11AM 12 min