“What’s the latest news on growing hemp in SA?”. Read on to find out..
As you may be aware, Hemporium’s farming partner, Rapula Farming was given permission by the government to grow 2 hectares of industrial hemp per year over a 3 year commercial incubation research trial. See more about the trial in this video.
After the trial concluded in mid 2015, the data that was gathered was sent to the department of health for a legislative review process. Frustratingly, we have heard very little back from anyone in government since then. We were given an indication that the report was not yet finalized and they are still busy with a feasibility study, so we have had to focus our efforts elsewhere.
You may be aware of two court cases challenging the laws surrounding cannabis. One took place last year and is still in the judgement process, while the other will take place at the constitutional court level at the end of July this year spearheaded by The Dagga Couple.
These cases are challenging the laws around cannabis as a whole including the medicinal, industrial and even recreational uses of the plant. Our current law states “Cannabis (dagga), the whole plant or any portion or product thereof, except dronabinol (-)-transdelta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol as an “UNDESIRABLE DEPENDENCE-PRODUCING SUBSTANCE” which under de facto law means even hemp products fall foul of this law.
Tony is involved in both of these cases as an expert witness on the industrial uses of cannabis. We are eagerly anticipating the outcomes of these cases and how they will impact industrial hemp cultivation. More info about the constitutional court challenge here.
You may also have seen that government has announced that South Africans will soon have regulated access to medicinal cannabis. We are interested to see how these developments unfold. It would not be rational for the government to allow high-THC cannabis cultivation for medicinal use while still banning cultivation of low-THC hemp for industrial purposes. More info about this announcement here.
The struggle continues, and momentum grows as more and more people open their hearts and minds to the fantastic benefits cannabis has to offer. Here’s to freedom for hemp in 2017!