South Africa to speed up regulation of its cannabis industry

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

The president said in his State of the Nation address last 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 exploit that,” he said. “We will accelerate policy and regulations relating to the use of cannabis for medical purposes, particularly in the Eastern Cape Province and KwaZulu-Natal” so that cannabis realizes its “enormous” potential for investment and job creation.

Finally implementing the legalization of cannabis

The cannabis legalization project must also make its way, while it has been blocked in Parliament since the end of 2020.

In 2017, South Africa’s Constitutional Court ruled that the government could not prevent citizens from growing and consuming cannabis in their homes. The decision gave lawmakers two years to propose legislation. The bill that passed in 2020 has nevertheless been widely criticized for its harsh penalties and confusing rules.

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

The bill removed minor infractions, but did not specify enforcement measures. It also did not provide rules for commercialization, which largely prevented the development of an industry.

The bill also benefits more people who have space to grow and consume cannabis in peace, while the harsh penalties would put increased pressure on poor and vulnerable communities.

In response to this unpopular bill, South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) presented a cannabis master plan last summer aimed at finally getting the industry off the ground. .

The plan creates a seed registration and certification system, while leveraging traditional knowledge to support research and development. It wants to provide technical and financial support to farmers and develop the local market while facilitating the export of South African products. It also implements education and training programs.

The bill is currently being considered by the South African parliament.

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