Once the personal and private consumption of cannabis was decriminalised in South Africa, the industry began to take off and the market boomed – and opened up space to open a marijuana dispensary.
If you have the time, money and inclination – you can now grow your own. If you don’t have a green thumb, and you’re still hanging around shady parking lots at night, check out this idiots guide to buying weed online.
You can thank us later.
If you like a more personal touch, and aren’t a fan of your neighbourhood plug, South Africa’s first marijuana dispensaries are opening up for business near you. There are already around 70 branches operating across the country.
What is Canapax?
Canapax is a marijuana dispensary chain, almost like a franchise of sorts. IOL covered the popping up of these dispensaries:
“Canapax founder Russell de Beer said he is legally allowed to sell dagga as medicine because he is a traditional healer and operates under the Traditional Health Practitioners Act.
Many entrepreneurs have jumped on the idea, paying De Beer R25 000 to open up their own Canapax stores.
In the shops, such as the branches in Stellenbosch and Kalk Bay, customers can browse jars of cured bud and pay per gram. This contains THC, can be smoked for a psychoactive effect and is not broadly legal for trade – as opposed to CBD, which is not psychoactive and is legal for trade in certain concentrations.”
Customers don’t have to meet up with a traditional healer or declare any medical condition when purchasing weed. De Beer sees his stores as a public service.
“ “We have on our hands a medical emergency in South Africa,” De Beer said. “I’m trying to allow as many people as possible to self-medicate.”
In an interview with DQ Central, he said while cannabis is now decriminalised for personal growth and consumption, some people who would like to use it medicinally are not physically able to do the work of growing their own.
That is how Canapax came about. ”
Bumps in the Road with a Marijuana Dispensary
However, it’s no surprise that it hasn’t necessarily been smooth sailing. Numerous stores are being shut down by the police, but De Beer claims that it’s ignorance of the law on the part of SAPS.
“ “We do have rogue policemen who harass our shop owners,” he said. “They hold them in the holding cells for the first day. All the proceedings are an abuse of office. Most of the cases get dismissed and the cannabis gets returned.”
The price tag for opening up a Canapax branch is R25000 but De Beer said the stores are not franchises and are run by individual sole proprietors.
“You are buying into the Canapax intellectual property.” “
The individuals visiting these Canapax dispensaries are described by De Beer as “qualified healers themselves” who work independently of his standing as a traditional healer.
The Future of Cannabis in SA
The Canapax shop model gives a hint to what the legal cannabis space might look like in South Africa, where consumers can openly walk into a dispensary and purchase some bud. De Beer assures his visitors that Canapax products go through quality check processes before they hit the shelves.
Charl Henning from Fields of Green for All, an organisation which has been at the forefront of cannabis legalisation in SA, believes that Canapax is on the right track.
“But they’re doing it in the wrong way. They want to bring cannabis medicine to the nation, but their business model is wrong. The real sangomas come to us and say ‘we can’t even sell dagga, how can this franchise sell dagga?’”
It’s hard to tell where the marijuana industry will go in South Africa, only time will tell. If you’re interested in finding out more, have a look at the Cannapax website.
Would you open up your own marijuana dispensary?