South Africa has what it takes to create Global Cannabis brands


It has been almost four years since the Constitutional Court ruled that South Africans have the right to consume cannabis in the privacy of their own homes, effectively decriminalising the personal use of cannabis.

Since then, there have been important milestones that have enabled the emergence of South Africa’s fledgling cannabis industry.

In 2019, cannabidiol (CBD) was officially rescheduled a level 4 substance, meaning that all CBD containing preparations were rescheduled and fully legal.

In June 2021, the much anticipated Cannabis Master Plan was unveiled, detailing how cannabis can be incorporated into South Africa’s business sector as part of government’s ongoing drive towards legalisation and commercialisation. Government has good reason to want to focus on this industry.

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development estimates that the cannabis industry is worth an estimated R28 billion in South Africa and could create between 10 000 TO 25000 jobs across the sector.

There have, however, been some frustrations along the way as the enabling legislation has not been forthcoming, and the pace of change has been slower than anticipated. However, from the outset, Goodleaf had a clear sense of the opportunity and acted quickly, launching their CBD wellness and lifestyle brand within a year of the Constitutional Court ruling. In 2019, Goodleaf opened South Africa’s first premium CBD store in the heart of Cape Town’s city centre.

Four years later, the brand has a strong premium product line, which includes oils, skincare topicals, sparkling flavoured water, natural vapes and powder sachets. The brand’s product range is available online and in major retailers across South Africa, including Pick ‘n Pay, Spar, Checkers, Wellness Warehouse, Woolworths and Poetry and Vida e Caffè.

From the start, Goodleaf’s intention was to create a South African-grown global cannabis brand. In less than four years, Goodleaf Wellness has gone from a budding start-up to firmly establishing itself as Africa’s leading vertically integrated cannabis operator, combining high-quality, low-cost cultivation and production with a world-class brand and distribution across South Africa, the UK and Europe.

Where to from here…

There is no doubt the opportunity is there. Demand for cannabis products, and other plant-based wellness and beauty alternatives, will continue to grow as consumers become increasingly aware of the potential benefits of these products for their health and wellbeing.

The brand saw a big opportunity for South Africa, given the country’s abundant sunshine and low cost production. South Africa has an incredibly rich heritage of medicinal plants: think rooibos, moringa, marula, baobab and Kalahari melon. The soothing, moisturising, and anti-inflammatory capacities of these plants echo those properties in CBD - making the combination a particularly powerful, organic product for skin vitality, which creates a compelling selling proposition.

As the cannabis industry enters this exciting new phase, it is crucial that the sector does not lose the opportunity to create value right here in South Africa. We must endeavour to not become another sector where Africa provides the raw product, but the real value is created in Europe or North America. We have what it takes, let’s embrace it and not be afraid to act quickly, decisively and with the confidence that this is South Africa’s opportunity not to be missed.

Region: South Africa

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