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RISE TO FIGHTGianenzo SpagnuoloSouth Africa is home to many iconic landrace strains and a traditional culture rooted in rural lives. The industry has had a bumpy start and should see more stability in the coming years with the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill. This bill should open up the industry. However, before this, the government and SAHPRA are slowing the industry’s development instead of creating an inclusive industry focused on the upliftment of rural growers.
South Africa has a huge potential R27 billion cannabis industry waiting to get started, however, the brakes are firmly pressed. This high-value industry consists of 3 main pillars, medicines (CBD products), hemp (textiles, building, and nutrition), and recreation (THC products and private clubs).
The current legislation is proving difficult for companies to build a foundation around their respective pillars. Credit: Gianenzo SpagnuoloThe current legislation surrounding the cannabis industry has been murky ever since the legalization in 2018. This murky legislation has made it extremely difficult for anyone to enter the market. Companies with money and contacts can leverage licensing, gain traction and enter the market. The reality of the South African medicinal market is that post-CBD legalization, the majority of CBD products available are imported from the United States; this is less than ideal in the current industry’s direction.
CBD supply chains must happen locally in order to empower the local economy. Small, passionate, and self-funded startup companies are struggling to enter the industry. The reason these smaller companies struggle to enter the industry is due to licensing headaches. Licensing headaches include:
Huge expenses and investment
Lack of governments understanding between different cannabis types and market needs
Inability to sub-license land
Despite these headaches, some have a passion to fight. The companies featured in this magazine all stand proud and are expressing their voice for an inclusive industry. South Africans trying to tap into the cannabis industry should look forward to the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill. This bill should allow the cultivation of hemp as an agricultural crop by 2023. The proposed bill aims to open up recreational markets for CBD and THC cannabis alongside the legalization of private use. A recreational industry may raise the estimated industry value to R83 billion. Credit: Gianenzo SpagnuoloEcogreen Analytics is in partnership with a passionate cultivation company, Minerva Green. Rural cannabis industry development is Minerva Green’s passion. They formed part of 206 companies to receive licenses and research permits. These permits allowed them to cultivate hemp for textiles and paper pulp in a single location.
However, the restrictions on sub-licensing halted their vision to expand into more rural landscapes and uplift them.
The rural Transkei is a traditional cannabis cultivation hotspot, full of landrace genetics. These landrace strains form the backbone of all three pillars of the cannabis industry. Due to the market value of these strains, they are deserving protection and further cultivation. The local communities are also deserving of upliftment through skills transfer and inclusion in the industry. Ecogreen Analytics and Minerva Green are in partnership for research and product development. Laboratory testing allows Minerva Green’s hemp products to come with an internationally accredited quality guarantee. These quality assurances allow Minerva Green and similar companies to enter international and local markets. Together the two companies rise to fight a noble battle, both displaying a passion for a regulated industry; free from the suffocating legislation of government and uncalled-for policies of SAHPRA. By fighting side by side, building up the pillars of cannabis, and uplifting the rural cultivators they provide a business model for change, economic growth, and international investment. Credit: Gianenzo Spagnuolo