The Future of Cannabis Farming in South Africa is huge! Despite the illicit nature of cannabis, the constant rise in its medicinal and recreational purposes has driven many countries to legalize marijuana cultivation. Countries that have legalized marijuana for recreational use include South Africa, Canada, Georgia, 18 states in the US, and the Australian Capital Territory. Interestingly, this article focuses on the future of cannabis in a famous African country, South Africa.
South Africans fondly call cannabis by its street name, 'dagga'. In September 2018, South Africa decriminalized the use of cannabis following the legalization of marijuana cultivation for commercial, medicinal, and recreational use. The nation has since planned to expand the scope of marijuana cultivation by producing more cannabis for economic development and to influence the entire African political economy.
A Sustainable Future for Cannabis Farmers
Agriculture extensively contributes to the economy in South Africa. Moreso, it is a means of livelihood for a large part of the rural and urban community, especially for South Africa black farmers, who are renowned for their skilled crop cultivation. Consequently, the cultivation of marijuana creates jobs for most farmers because marijuana is fast-selling merchandise.
This analysis alone assures a long-term beneficial workload for South African farmers, which will increase their income flow as long as they fully invest in commercial marijuana cultivation. Indeed it is also a bright future for cannabis black farmers in South Africa. Even small scale farmers get a piece of the pie because all marijuana sellers depend on them to make sales. Small scale farmers play a role in the manufacture of cannabis in rural settlements. They distribute for black market marijuana sellers and wholesale distributors as well. There is no doubt that it's a win-win!
The vision is to join Canada in becoming part of the world's largest exporters of marijuana for various purposes. South Africa has since upped the development of its cannabis industry to facilitate the proper cultivation of marijuana. According to the Minister of Health, Zweli Mkhize, another reason is to explore its herbal materials industrially, thereby creating medicines to help with some human health concerns. Nevertheless, the government's primary goal is to boost the national economy and revenue.
Growing Interest In Cannabis Licenses
In 2017, the Department of Health introduced a licensing framework for the domestic cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis. Since then, it has become possible to obtain a license to cultivate the drug even as a cannabis consumer or exporter. The constitutional court of South Africa decriminalized the private use and cultivation of cannabis based on the right to privacy in 2018. As a result of this development, the potential of many South Africans seeking a license to cultivate more cannabis is on the rise, as many private firms and business operators will show interest in owning a franchise of their own.
This licensing is to ensure control on cannabis exploration and cultivation because cannabis users tend to violate the privilege of the legalization of marijuana cultivation. The South African Health Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) is authorized to regulate every activity regarding the development of cannabis. The freedom of the license allows:
- commercial marijuana cultivation
- cultivation of the cannabis
- extraction and testing
- manufacturing of medicine from the cannabis plant
- importation, exportation, and distribution.
One way or the other, these privileges will certainly continue to interest many South African entrepreneurs who wish to become marijuana sellers. The future for cannabis with the chance to obtain a license gives more room for large scale cultivation of cannabis all over the country.
Opening Up Africa's Cannabis Market
Africa is already one of the largest distributors of cannabis worldwide. Even when South Africa had not legalized the use and cultivation of cannabis, this fact remained the same. As South Africa embarked on decriminalizing the cultivation of marijuana and its use, Africa's Cannabis Market opened up for more entourage of demand and supply of dagga to various parts of the world. Now, both South African large scale and small scale farmers engage in the cultivation of marijuana. So, the importance and exportation are skyrocketing. The price of marijuana in proportion to a specific gram will rise due to inflation. What's more, the cost of marijuana will become imminent every season, as the value of currency for import and export fluctuates.
With the current plan South Africa envisages, the cannabis market in Africa tends to rise as the leading distributor of cannabis. Other African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica, Congo, and Senegal are also involved in the practice of marijuana cultivation. Nigeria, being involved in the illegal cultivation of marijuana didn't deter the country from becoming Africa's top distributor of cannabis. Medicinal cannabis cultivation professionals recommend South Africa as a great environment for producing medical marijuana. Cannabis crops require favourable temperatures, climate, and rainfall conditions to thrive. South Africa has these qualities which is why there is an increase in demand for more of the following:
- Manufacturing license applications
- GMP extraction techniques
- Related engineering plans
- Safety and security measures.
South Africa Reschedules CBD and THC
The Minister of Health of South Africa rescheduled cannabidiol (CBD) and temporarily excluded specific preparations containing CBD from the operation of the Schedules of Medicine and Related Substances Act on May 23rd, 2019.
In the legal cannabis industry, CBD is the main component used for medicinal marijuana because it is the active component in marijuana that benefits health. It's scientifically proven that the CBD components in cannabis help to ease pain, reduce stress and anxiety, alleviate cancer-related issues and other potential benefits. Hence, it is the main component looked out for when making medicinal marijuana. Meanwhile, THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis, precisely called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which produces the 'high' when used.
Firstly, the rescheduling of CBD to Schedule 4 and Schedule 0 allowed for its prescription as medication and regulated as a supplement, respectively. It will enable any random cannabis user to visit any pharmacy and purchase a particular gram of CBD under a limited dose of 20mg per day. This act of rescheduling will foster more purchases of CBD daily from over the counter and pharmaceutical stores. On the other hand, THC had a rescheduling from Schedule 7 to Schedule 6, taking it from the position of controlled substances to prescriptive substances readily available at pharmacies.
Cashing In On Legal Cannabusiness
There is no questioning that for South Africans, commercial marijuana cultivation paves a wide road for foreign investment, which in turn will attract a lot of income and revenue. For a marijuana seller, it is just like any other buying and selling business.
South Africa's government reveals a grand plan to harness a ($1.9 billion) cannabis industry that could potentially create as many as 25,000 jobs and help attract foreign investment and boost a diversified economy. The open sale of marijuana, directly and indirectly, starts income streams for as many South Africans involved in one way or the other.
This former industrial project alone puts money in the pocket of over 5million South Africans, including the industry workers and black-market marijuana sellers. For instance, in South Africa, where there is the freedom to commercialize marijuana, sellers can distribute CBD in oils, gels, mints etc. It is another business strategy that anyone at all can sell dagga. People can also earn money by becoming middlemen who deliver cannabis products from the manufacturer to the buyer.
Moral Argument Against Cannabis Use
In the past decades, many controversial theories have been revealed to enlighten users about the dangers of marijuana intake. Some focused on the health dangers, while others pushed the moral aspect of smoking it. To a typical African, it is an embedded knowledge that smoking itself is highly immoral; talk more of the health dangers.
For a country like South Africa, where marijuana use is already fully legal, the number of cannabis consumers will only continue to rise. The freedom to bring out your 'stash' and roll up a joint anywhere has already validated how difficult it will be to control cannabis use now and in years to come. Truly, smoking is bad for the health when taken habitually, but all moral arguments are as good as null. Marijuana is an addictive psychoactive drug; cannabis users find it extremely hard to discontinue the drug and the number of new people who try the drug increases every day. So, there is not much of an effect of a moral decadence speech on this reality.
It is 2021, and South Africa is already talking about facilitating bigger and better industries to propagate and further expand the cultivation of marijuana. In five to ten years, there is no doubt that South Africa's cannabis industrial project will plunge Africa into becoming the leading continent in the manufacturing, distribution, and exportation of dagga worldwide.
The current growth of the cannabis market in South Africa is widespread, which motivates neighbouring countries in the continent to legalize the drug. That way, they can exploit its financial and medical benefit by facilitating the cannabis trade that will upgrade their national revenue and apply its medical function in areas where needed.
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