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FREE THE MEDICINE – ONE LOVE. ONE VOICE.Tebogo ThlopaneAs Chairman of the CTAA, I feel that there's a serious legislation crisis. In our amazing country the crisis is so huge that there is complete disconnection between the aspirations of the executives within the presidency, especially where cannabis is concerned, and the implementation of those aspirations which trickle down to all the different departments, because of what the President has said, and what has transpired on opposite ends. We don't have a structure that's looking at how to manage seeds in this country at the moment. The fact is that they have not built structure around seeds and registration of seeds or even anything protecting our own landrace seeds including, of course, Durban Poison, which we still don't have a structure in place to prevent us from losing that or any strain to private entities overseas.
According to the drug and trafficking act, cannabis is still a prohibited substance which makes it difficult, especially when you realise that it’s the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition who should be leading the Charge for Cannabis both nationally and in foreign trade. When we look at it as an issue of commerce, then we are more poised to be able to structure it in such a way that it is business driven and to take advantage of the trade opportunities being presented to us, apart from anything else.
All these issues, that disconnection, the legislative crisis, they're not coherent in terms of the regulation of seeds, as well as how SAHPRA is structured where you have to jump through all these hoops and do all of these things which we find completely unnecessary. We want a Freedom Plan – let people grow it. If I want to do extraction, then I set up a lab. A proper lab based on SAHPRA guidelines, GMP, and then we do extraction there, in the regulated laboratory. This is true throughout the production chain. That's where I believe SAHPRA should actually get involved. Not before, because we don't see where and how they can get involved in seeds or the grow process. The mere suggestion from the regulatory body that we should use only approved GMO seeds throughout the grow sector is baseless and short-sighted. In fact, our own landrace stains are some of the most potent healing plants in the world and should be fiercely protected. When we look at the science behind Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) we see that it is such a new technology that we cannot yet begin to see or understand the effect it might have on our biological systems and ecology.
It’s currently within the SAHPRA guidelines when applying for this license that if your THC or other compound levels are off by a small amount, or if they think anything might be wrong, they destroy the entire crop, but I think that also applies everywhere, especially when it comes to hemp - which is monitored very, very closely. We are now seeing the US also pushing for legalization of cannabis on a federal level to create cohesion within the industry and at all levels of governance. Why is it that we, as a Nation, always have to be the last people to act? Right now, we still have so much inequality in this country, it cuts very deep. You can’t doubt that you see a huge disparity between next door neighbours separated only by a street or even just a high wall. An informal settlement to the left and a Golfing Estate, mansion or similar across the road is commonplace.
So, we need to think out of the box, we need to come up with policies and plans that ensure that we achieve unemployment rates that are so low in our lifetime. To do that is to completely unlock the potential of this plant across the entire industry and production chain. Looking at medicinal and recreational cannabis, CBD products, hemp, textiles, building materials and even plastic. Plastic has been made from crude cellulose until very recently. Now we are replacing this antiquated recipe for a far superior one using cannabis. This type of plastic is biodegradable. It literally degrades so well that it disappears into the soil, and it's gone. We could be leading the world with biodegradable plastic by creating an industry around that. Now, not later.
We have not even touched on the paper industry and the effect it has on global warming. An alarming report came out of the UN two weeks ago that stated: Just by replacing all these dangerous industries with cannabis and hemp variants, planting crops of cannabis in every country instead of trees for paper or whatever, you would be reclaiming the earth.
The huge effect that this would make on the global warming crisis alone is astounding. As well as to provide exceptional re-oxygenation for planet Earth as a by-product. This is the reason we exist. The CTAA is on a singular mission to free “the weed” in order to unleash its fullest potential and to provide the people of our Great Nation access to the multitude of opportunities that arise along with it. We want to know why it is that we aren’t part of the conversation, when politicians and legislators don’t have the faintest idea about any facet of the industry or how to BEGIN to trade in and regulate it.
We are working tirelessly to insert ourselves into that conversation as One Voice, for a cannabis industry that is an all-inclusive one, an industry with plenty of room for the “little guy” to start and prosper a cannabis centric business.
We know that YOU want to join your voice with ours and TAKE ACTION in the name of a stable, sustainable, and prosperous future for all South Africans. YOU can start by donating a small amount to help fund our fight and SPEAKING UP when the topic comes up in conversation. Follow this link to make a donation and change this untenable situation: ctaa.org.za/donate. Together we are unlocking cannabis and natural medicine. We are healing the nation, enlightening ourselves and creating a better life for our children.