Promising Words in Open Discussion on Cannabis Legalisation
With cannabis legalisation becoming more of a reality, Eastern Cape premier – Oscar Mabuyane – was speaking during a cannabis stakeholder engagement at the International Convention Centre in East London.
The engagement was assembled by the Eastern Cape department of rural development and agrarian reform to debate issues of legalisation which includes a license application process, market analysis and economic contribution to the provincial Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Mabuyane stated: “Our agenda is to create a thriving, legal cannabis economy in our province to create jobs for our people. This means we must want to focus on using cannabis for medicinal use to cure ailments such as asthma, we want to use it to manufacture products such as fibre that is used to build aeroplanes, we want to use it as clothing material, we want to use it to produce bio-fuels and other essentials products that are used globally.”
In 2004, a study done by Interpol ranked South Africa fourth amongst the largest cannabis producers. Most of the marijuana cultivated in our country is done in the Eastern Cape.
Mabuyane also stated that the country was unable to extract economic benefits because cannabis was illegal until the Constitutional Court ruling in September last year which decriminalised it for private and personal use. Meaning that the time is now to take advantage and use cannabis legalisation and cultivation for the benefit of not just the province, but the country as well.
“However, for massive economic production the rules are still unclear. We must overcome this hurdle speedily so that legislation around cultivation can be clear to everyone concerned, particularly the police and communal farmers,” said Mabuyane.
Rural and Agricultural Reform
MEC of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Nomakhosazana Meth, said: “As the province, we must not be left behind as cannabis is brought into the spotlight as the world jumps to grab their drag on the spliff.” Hemp and cannabis have become known as the “green gold rush” and is not an opportunity that South Africa should turn it’s head from.
She said in countries where cannabis has been decriminalised, it was useful for enhancing the pain associated with rheumatism, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, and numerous other medical conditions.
Meth said the City of Cape Town has been opening up land for cannabis cultivation, so as to open up further economic opportunities. She also acknowledged the fact that numerous states in the U.S. have created an industry now worth billions of dollars.
It’s Not Always Smooth Sailing
With that said, a number of stakeholders have expressed concerns about the financial costs of licensing as well as the challenges of partaking in the export marketplace when it comes to cannabis legalisation.
During discussions, stakeholders showed further concerns about the lack of government intervention to improve productivity, allowing emerging cannabis cultivators to make profits.
Although South Africa has shown a fair amount of leniency when it comes to cultivation of cannabis for personal and private use, we will have to wait and see on the outcomes of large industrial farming practices.