By Edward Tsumele
Cannabis Conferences have been held in the past two years in South Africa, and the government and industry all agree about the potential for job creation and business opportunities this new sunrise industry offers.
However policy formulation has been slow, introduced piecemeal and fragmented wherever there was some sort of movement in legal reform. Though the industry has been patient so far, this patience seems to be now wearing thin.
Now the Cannabis Business Development Council, an industry body formed by role players in the cannabis industry, and whose aim is to self-regulate the industry, among other objectives, has now completed its own Cannabis Master Plan, that it hopes whose elements will be adopted by the Government Cannabis Master Plan that has been in the making for quite some time now.
At the core of the CBDC’s master Plan is the establishment of a Cannabis Desk in the Presidency, whose main responsibility is to co-ordinate proposals from various ministries relevant to the cannabis industry, such as Health, Agriculture, Constitutional Development and Correctional Services and the Department of Trade and Industry.
And according to the industry body, they would want to see this proposed Cannabis Desk in the Office of the President by June 2021. However in their own Master Plan, CDCSA have indicated what they would like to see in the Government Master Plan, once it has been completed.
In their own Cannabis Master Plan, the CDCSA have covered many aspects of the cannabis industry, including medical, recreational, hemp and the already growing CBD subsector of the cannabis industry.
However although there is a political will on the part of the ruling ANC government at the highest level of government, very little has been done adminsitrat6ively, especially the producing of the Government Master Plan, which once done will guide a comprehensively policy formulation on the cannabis industry.
May industry players will recall what President Cyril Ramaphosa said at his State of the Nation Address in Parliament in 2020, giving many the hope that the reality of this industry becoming formalized and legal was nearby.
““This year we will open up and regulate the commercial use of hemp products. Providing opportunities for small scale farmers. This is our approach to the opportunities that are offered by cannabis farming, which happens throughout the country. We will formulate policy on the use of cannabis products for medicinal purposes. To build this industry in line with global trends,” Ramaphosa said at the time.
.Also see CBA’s lead article regarding the latest developments with regards to the Cannabis Master Plan-Editor.