President Ramaphosa Declares 2020 is the Year for Cannabis and Hemp in SA
We were very grateful to hear president Ramaphosa speak about hemp and cannabis during his recent State of the Nation Address. It’s been a long time coming and we’ve now heard from the highest office in the land that this is one of the priorities to help lift us out of the current situation in South Africa.
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Ramaphosa stated, “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, to build this industry in line with global trends”.
Obviously, this is a great encouragement for us that we’ve been on the right path for so long, after educating and inspiring people about the potential for this plant since 1996. To hear this announcement does come as a great reward to us however we also know that this is politico-speak at the moment, and the real work still needs to be done at the regulatory level.
We need the ministers to change the legislation around cannabis. We need to see cannabis removed from the drugs and drug trafficking act and we need to see the cannabis plant removed from schedule 7 in the medicines and related substances act. We need regulations that enable farmers to grow the plant, but most importantly we also need to see support given for processing and turning the plant into various products.
Whether it’s fibre products, seed oil and seed products, therapeutic CBD products or construction materials – all of that needs value chains to help build this industry to be sustainable. Also, to have a local market that is ready for these products to use them in daily life, not as niche products, but as mainstream products that can really bring value to our lives and to the way that we treat farming and the sustainable resources we use.
We believe hemp will help bring a green future, but this is just the beginning. We now need to actually do the work of setting up a sustainable industry, of creating all these businesses so that we can prove what we’ve been saying all along is true, and really see hemp providing sustainable rural livelihoods, jobs houses, food and healing, for us and our planet.
For more from Hemporium’s Tony Budden on the announcement, listen to his interview with Cape Talk’s Africa Melane, or read the synopsis here.