South Africa, the Western Cape and Cape Town as a whole will soon increase their efforts to capitalise on the cannabis industry, as it is expected to garner more than $40-billion worth worldwide by 2024.

As the industry has a massive potential for growth the City of Cape Town will explore all avenues to ensure residents benefit from the unlimited potential.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced at the State of the Nation Address that opportunities for hemp products would be opened up in 2020.

“This year, we will open up and regulate the commercial use of hemp products, providing opportunities for small-scale farmers; and formulate policy on the use of cannabis products for medicinal purposes,” said Ramaphosa.

Cape Town already has significant interest from investors in the agricultural area alone with the City expecting huge interest in the pharmaceutical research, development, and biotech as Cape Town is fast becoming the Africa’s leader in these areas.

The City is also conducting research to further its cannabis industry involvement and seek out other key areas of growth.

Several pieces of land in Atlantis have already been earmarked for use in the private sector specifically to grow medical cannabis with other plans including open up opportunities for income, job creation and up-skilling for locals.

“It is also testament to the City’s commitment to partner with the private sector to explore new opportunities to grow the economy, attract investment and create much needed employment,” says James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management.

The hemp industry will allow for an alternative source material for rope, textiles, clothing, shoes, food, paper, bioplastics, insulation and biofuel and the frameworks to legalize hemp are already underway in South Africa. Currently hemp may only be imported under specific conditions but cultivation in SA is still illegal.

The cultivation of hemp will specifically help small-scale farmers with the government planning to award them with the rights to farm this bountiful crop this year.

“My intention is to write to the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, and the Medicines Control Council to request an update on the progress made to allow for the farming of hemp,” says Vos.

Vos also plans to get an update on the provision for cannabis in the following areas according to Section 22C(1)(b) of the Medicines Act:

– Cultivate/grow and produce cannabis and cannabis resin
– Extract and test cannabis, cannabis resin and/or cannabinoids
– Manufacture a Cannabis-containing or cannabinoid-containing medicine
– Import a cannabis-containing medicine
– Export a cannabis-containing medicine
– Distribute a cannabis-containing medicine

“The City will be on the forefront of creating the right environment for residents to benefit from this emerging sector,” adds Vos.

Picture: Pexels

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