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The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has published what it calls a ‘national master plan’ to help boost South Africa’s cannabis industry.

The draft proposes relaxing certain restrictions and legislation to establish a globally competitive cannabis industry in the country which will include the production of both marijuana and hemp for local and international markets and also encourages investment into research initiatives.

South Africa’s cannabis market is expected to grow exponentially. According to the Department of Trade and Industry and the Agricultural Research Council, the local cannabis industry is set to be worth R14 billion soon, with predictions of a surge towards R28 billion by 2023.

It is also estimated that more than 900,000 small-scale farmers across the country have already been cultivating dagga for years. The Department agrees that further development of the local cannabis industry will uplift economic development, create jobs and promote rural development and inclusive participation.

Along with its proposed changes to legislation, The Department also insists the government should sign the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill into law within the 2022/2023 financial year. Read more on the bill, here.

According to Business Insider, the master plan suggest the following interventions:

Amend existing legislation by removing existing constraints that hinder commercialisation
Implement breeding programmes for new dagga and hemp cultivars
Support research and development programmes for the country’s cannabis industry
Mobilise and support farmers to participate in the cannabis value chains
Develop new domestic and export markets for the South African cannabis industry
Include indigenous dagga growers in the value chain
Develop and support the growth of manufacturing and product development capacity in South Africa
Provide a framework for education and training in the cannabis industry
Communicating a clear message about the cannabis industry and related matters to all stakeholders and the public

Image | Unsplash

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By Leah De Luca