By Edward Tsumele, Cannabis Business Africa/CBA Editor
The emerging cannabis industry in South Africa is slowly but steadying going mainstream. Only a few years ago, it was unthinkable for example that cannabis, probably the most stigmatised plants in the world, would be spoken about freely and openly in mainstream media, particularly its qualities. But now with a global move to commercially exploit the plant and its health qualities gaining momentum globally, from the US right down to South Africa, attitudes towards the plant have shifted, and businesses are being set up, that promise to create employment and wealth. The need for employment creation can never be overemphasised at a time when the global economy is trying to wiggle itself out of the downward growth trajectory made worse by the global pandemic, the Covid-19. Cannabis entrepreneurs and lobbyists believe that if governments made policies to regulate the plant and make it easy for investors to get involved in this new “green gold” industry, poverty and unemployment would be reduced markedly.
South Africa is one of the countries on the move when it comes to legalizing and formalizing the industry. An in a clear move that demonstrates that cannabis is no longer that stigmatized plant, or will soon not be, the mainstream media, is now giving a platform to discussions focusing on cannabis by industry experts through webinars, radio and television talk shows.
The latest media that has been recently launched is the GoodLeaf Cannabis Podcast, a series of talks hosted by well known TV host, model and businessman Maps Maponyane. The Podcast launched on June 30, 2021, with its first guests the founder and Chief executive Officer of GoodLeaf Warren Schewitz and Tony Budden Founder of Hemporium. GoodLeaf is a CBD premium brand with a number of CBD stores dotted around Western Cape and Gauteng.
And the podcast is clear about its objectives.
“Welcome to the GoodLeaf podcast, a series of conversations hosted by Maps Maponyane about cannabis and well-being. Our goal with this series is to de-stigmatise this often misunderstood plant, and to explore it’s potential by engaging in conversation with inspirational thinkers, change makers and industry experts. What was once taboo and outlawed, is rapidly establishing itself as a means to personal well-being, job creation and the development of the green economy on the African continent. Through open, honest conversations with recognised thought leaders, we hope to enlighten, inspire and motivate our listeners to challenge preconceived thinking to make up their own mind about one of natures most iconic plants,” the GoodLeaf Podcast states upfront.
The first episode of this monthly series was called Planting The Seed For Change, aptly titled as it talks to the idea of the podcast casting itself as a change maker through a combination of the honest discussions and educational angles it will tackle going forward. The educational part is clearly aimed at educating the public and policy makers about cannabis.
In the first episode, Maps talked to Schewitz, the Founder and CEO of Goodleaf, Africa’s leading premium CBD wellness brand, and the Founder of Hemporium and influential cannabis activist, Tony Budden, In this conversation we explore the origins of the cannabis industry in South Africa, current laws and legislation and the untapped potential that exists in our country to become a world leader in cannabis cultivation and production.
30 Jun 2021 · 57 minutes
Budden started the journey in hemp in 1996 as a student when he and a business partner launched the company and manufactured fabrics. They learned about the food side and seed and decided that they were goingto import the hemp fibre and hemp seed.
“We went into manufacturing, construction material, fabric and other material. We became a manufacturer of fabrics but also a lobby as well. Tragically we are still importing hemp 26 years after launching the company,” Tony said in that interview.
Schewitz traced his interest in the cannabis business when he lived for 12 years and started businesses in Canada where cannabis is legal.
“We have come to market with 25 products in the past two and half years that are today in major retailers. There is so much stigma around this plant historically. We call, it the devil’s weed, but the devil is in the detail. However this is a plant that has been kept in the dark, but now it is getting scientific focus and there are smart people who are putting money in the plant,” Schewitz said.