South Africa


Government just made a massive change to South Africa’s cannabis laws

On Thursday (23 May), the Department of Health published an update on regulations surrounding cannabis in South Africa, effectively deregulating certain components of the plant.

The cannabis plant comprises two main compounds – Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).

THC is considered to be the psychoactive component of cannabis, whereas CBD is not associated with psychoactive outcomes.

According to Helen Michael – a director in the Healthcare & Life Sciences practice at Werksmans – before the publication of the gazette THC and CBD (which are not intended for therapeutic purposes) were all listed as Schedule 7 substances in term of the Medicines Act.


The African cannabis market is poised to reach $7.1 billion within four years

Cannabis is distancing itself from its former days of prohibition and people are enjoying legalization – both medically and recreationally throughout North America and Europe. But what’s been going on in Africa?


South African company approved to export cannabis to Canada

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) recently opened the door to medical marijuana production.

The SAHPRA has granted three licenses to companies to grow medical marijuana for research purposes, local use and export.

House of Hemp backed by Afriplex received the first license to produce medical marijuana by SAHPRA earlier this year. Now, Leaf Botanicals have signed an agreement to export locally-grown cannabis to Canada.

While there is a lot of anecdotal evidence of marijuana being a panacea, there is still surprisingly little evidence to back the many claims. Marijuana is currently only recognised to aid in patients with chronic pain and multiple sclerosis in South Africa at the moment.


The African cannabis market could reach $7.1B by 2023

In the global cannabis landscape, Africa is an overlooked market. This is due to a number of factors, such as the illegality of the plant across the continent and the poor economic conditions that many African countries face.

Africa has the potential to become an enormous cannabis market due to the large population and favorable climate that makes growing weed easier than in neighboring Europe. A new report by Prohibition Partners suggests that by 2023, the African cannabis market could reach $7.1 billion.


South Africa’s cannabis pioneers say the legal war isn’t won yet

There are 900 000 cannabis farmers in South Africa, and approximately 20 million cannabis users. So says Myrtle Clarke, one half of the Dagga Couple who have been pioneering cannabis-friendly legislation in South Africa for eight years.

Cannabis advocates won a huge victory last year when the Constitutional Court ruled cannabis consumption legal for personal use in private places. But the battle against bureaucracy is far from over – and the legal war has just begun.

From a movement to a booming industry

Myrtle works for an organisation called Field of Green for All. They are pushing for cannabis to be legal not only for personal consumption, but also for cultivation and trade on a commercial scale.


South Africa scents new cannabis markets

Shaking cannabis clear of its stoner image will ever be difficult, but South Africa's decriminalisation of the drug has a serious business upside.

Fancy a cup of cannabis coffee? Perhaps interested in the latest hemp fashion or the different medicinal uses of cannabis oil or medicines?

Two recent cannabis expositions in Pretoria and Cape Town show a growing appetite to understand what the crop can offer both from an agricultural and economic front.

So could South Africa sell marijuana to export markets?

It is certainly becoming a formalised business elsewhere in the world.


The South African dagga industry could be worth R27 billion within four years – but export-quality cannabis may be a problem

  • The South African market for marijuana and associated products could be worth R27 billion per year by 2023, according to a new report by Prohibition Partners.
  • Africa overall has the cheap land and labour to attract investment in cannabis, the consultancy says – but export markets looking for quality may require irrigation infrastructure not common on the continent.
  • But wrapping dagga in banana leaves and burying it may be just the edge African producers need to command high premiums for their weed.


South Africa's cannabis policy is wildly confusing, despite "dagga" being part of the culture for centuries

The story of dagga in South Africa stretches back centuries, writes Zack Ruskin.


South Africa’s Dagga Couple remind us what’s important about cannabis

Myrtle Clarke and Julian Stobbs’ home was raided by South African police in 2010. They were charged with cannabis possession and distribution and faced some choices: plead guilty, pay bribes, or sue the government. They chose the latter, combining their case with Ras Garreth Prince, a Rastafarian who had been denied access to law school because he was a cannabis user. Defying government opposition, South Africa’s highest court ruled in their favor in September 2018 and decriminalized cannabis use and possession in private spaces.


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