By Edward Tsumele
This week there was a flurry of activity in the cannabis sector as organizations and individuals had an opportunity to submit their proposals to the Portfolio Committee For Health in Parliament with regards to the Cannabis for Private Purpose Bill.
This stage of the formulation of cannabis laws is crucial as whatever form and shape the final laws adopted by parliament will determine whether South Africa becomes a major player of note in the global cannabis market. Currently cannabis legislation reform is the talk of the global economy as countries, from the UIS to Rwanda, are in the process of relooking at their legislation to accommodate this fast growing industry.
Many countries see a future in economic growth If cannabis is formalized, an industry that has been existing for years as mainly an illicit economy as most countries declared cannabis an illegal drug.
However a wave of legal reforms is currently sweeping through several countries in the world as some are trying to catch up and therefore cash in on this multi-billion dollar industry, whose application is diverse, ranging from construction, medical, nutrition, textile to simply recreational.
In South Africa the National Cannabis Master Plan has been drawn up and is currently being championed by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.
This week was the time for the stakeholders to send submission to the Portfolio Committee for Health in parliament before whom, is the Cannabis for Private Purpose Bill. Among organisations that have submitted their input to Parliament this week is Cannabis Industry Development Association of Southern Africa. (CIDASA} which with the support of the University of Free State made a submission to Parliament on Wednesday.
“:Submission to Portfolio Committee for Cannabis Bill at Parliament. Thanks to Dr Anita Venter , Advocate Mamba and Thulani Mrhetjha and the team for the submission made today. Thanks also to the University of Free State for supporting this research submission document to the Parliament portfolio committee,” the association said on its website on Wednesday, September 1, 2021, after making its presentation.
This week on Tuesday, August 31, 2021, industry players from around the world such as the US, Canada, Europe, Africa and South America, discussed at a Webinar titled The Ultimate Global Cannabis Playbook Webinar .the issue of how the cannabis legislative frameworks look like in the different regions of the globe. South Africa and Africa was represented by Sibusiso Xaba, whose company African Cannabis Advisory Group, consults for cannabis entrepreneurs and countries, with regards to finance, operational issues and licenses.
Xaba said that South Africa is slowly but on the right track when it comes to developing the legal framework for cannabis, citing the existence of the Cannabis National Master Plan as an example of the progress that is being made by the country.
He however pointed out that Rwanda in Africa is one country to watch out for when it comes to the development of the cannabis industry, especially the growth of a future Cannabis domestic market, alongside South Africa on the African continent in the long term.
“When it comes to the growth and development of a domestic cannabis market, South Africa because of its advanced financial system and facilities for medical cannabis, as well as a well established pharmaceuticals industry, stands to be a leader in Africa in the emergence and development of a domestic cannabis market in the next 10 years.
“However Rwanda because of its record of strong governance and the fact that its economy has been developing by at least 7% consistently in the past 10 years, is also another country to watch out for with regards to the development of a cannabis domestic market in Africa,” Xaba said.