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ForewordThe cannabis wheels have started turning and in the last two months, have started to gain momentum. Looking back, I believe the catalyst was The Haze Club Judgement. The cannabis community waited with bated breath to hear the result, and there was a collective sigh of disappointment when the judgement was read. After four years of waiting, we’d all expected a little more… of anything, something. The frustration that had been building for so long led to the cannabis community coming together to take a stand in the Canna Mass Action on 17 September 2022. It was truly special to see the diverse demographics of the crowds that gathered. Egos were forgotten, feuds resolved, a community reunited all thanks to one little plant.
While the cannabis community were getting their posters ready and preparing for the Mass Action, the Cannabis Lekgotla was held in Mafikeng from 14-16 September. It was hosted by the Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) Center, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and Northwest University and offered a platform where any member of the cannabis community, from academics, to farmers, traditional leaders to cannapreneurs, were able to express their views on how they believe South Africa’s Cannabis Master plan should be rolled out. For the first time since decriminalisation in 2018, the government had important, honest conversations with cannabis community leaders and now has a better idea of the true scope that the Cannabis Master Plan must encompass.
Attending the Al-Tau Conference in Zimbabwe and the subsequent visit by Zimbabwean delegates to South Africa, highlighted how other countries in Africa are recognising the potential that the cannabis market has in uplifting their countries, not only economically but also culturally. Cannabis is more than just a plant. It is part of our indigenous knowledge and cultural heritage, regardless of race, societal status or level of education. So, it seems fitting that the IKS Centre at North West University is playing an integral part in the commercial research and development of the industry. This will be accomplished through private and public partnerships with institutions of higher learning and using existing cannabis clubs and their cultivating and processing members to drive these R&D projects.
The AFASA AGM held in Durban from 16-18 October was another pivotal event in that it was decided that cannabis would be classed as a commodity (alongside other commodities like wheat, dairy, etc). An opportunity to start unlocking the economic benefit that cannabis can offer South Africa.
Grow one Africa is excited about what the future holds. Yes, we know that legislation may still take a while to get passed, but the role players are coming to the party and starting to listen. Things are moving forward. Now it’s up to the cannabis community at large to start contributing to the conversation. Be a part of history, start making your voice heard! Enjoy Issue 8 Vanessa De Sousa GROW one AFRICA (GOA)