By Edward Tsumele
Although the process is long and arduous, that is the journey to getting that important license to be involved legally in cultivating cannabis in South Africa, however there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for those that fight it out till they meet the strict requirements.
Besides local entrepreneurs, International companies are also eyeing this opportunity to get involved in this potentially lucrative growing global new industry. However it is obvious now that Local entrepreneurs have to content with the reality that they either will have to fight on their own to meet the requirements, or they will have to partner with global players who have the resources, the technical knowledge and the experience in the cannabis industry to quicken their process of getting the license.
This is because overseas countries such as in North America, Israel and Europe for example, are far ahead of South Africa in this industry, and it might not be a bd idea for local players to consider partnering with them.
These companies clearly have an advantage when it comes to meeting the requirements for acquiring a cannabis license from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), that vary from planting to processing licenses..
The latest global player to get a cannabis license for cultivation is Perfect Plants.
“Perfect Plants has more exciting news to announce this week! After a lengthy application process that started in July 2019, we have received our official license to cultivate cannabis in South Africa.Ben van Maanen, our Director of Production for our South African facility, accepted the license at the SAHPRA offices last Thursday.
This is another important step forward for Perfect Plants, expanding our operations as a trusted, large-scale producer in the global cannabis industry. We will continue to produce plants with unmatched quality, consistency, safety and value to our clients around the world,” the company has announced in a statement.
This development is happening against the backdrop of recent positive developments in the cannabis industry. Last week Parks Tau, Gauteng Provincial Government MMC for Economic Development and Rural Development had a dinner meeting with role players in the industry where discussionsabout the direction and the shape of the cannabis sector in the province I are believed to have been discussed. Gauteng seems in fact to be ahead of the other provinces when it comes to paving the way for entrepreneurs to interested in the industry to stack their claim. Tau’s department since last year, has been holding a number of cannabis conferences with role players in the sector where his department explained its state of readiness to assist entrepreneurs to have a foothold in the industry. This latest meeting with industry players must therefore be seen within the context of those conferences that took place last year.
Also the Highest Office in the country, the Presidency seems to have realized eventually that the cannabis industry could be the solution to unemployment, especially in the ranks of the youth in which a disturbing figure of 70 percent unemployment is regularly bandied about by economists.
The President in the State of the Nation (Sona) stated that regulations pertaining to hemp will be fast tracked, enabling the industry to operate as smoothly as possible, particularly in KZN and Eastern Cape. These areas are traditionally known to produce some of the best cannabis strains in the country, and now seem to be increasingly leaning on the cultivation value chain of the industry. This is because of the good soil in those areas, as well as the indigenous expertise that exists there, gained over several years of illegal cultivation of the cannabis plant that is intergenerational.