Welcome aboard the wild ride that is the African cannabis revolution!
Tell me it’s not crazy.
In January two directors of a private cannabis club will appear in court charged with illegally growing high THC cannabis for Capetonians. Barely 60 kilometres away multinational Cannsun is legally growing high THC cannabis for export only.
This highlights the absurdity of government’s approach to legalizing cannabis. In terms of the proposed Private Use Bill in its last public incarnation:
- It’s legal to smoke it in private but you can’t buy it, nor can you buy seeds under the proposed private usage law; you can only grow your own
- you can buy CBD products legally but it’s illegal to make them from home-grown cannabis;
- farmers can get a license to grow cannabis legally, so long as they export it; they will get the licenses revoked if they supply to local distributors;
- you can legally grow your own cannabis, provided you limit yourself to four plants; plant more than 25 and you could face 15 years in jail if the cops suspect you of dealing;
- police are arresting and prosecuting citizens for cannabis-related crimes even though the proposed law says people found guilty of cannabis offences may have their criminal records expunged.
Cannabis analyist James Maposa hits the nail on the head when he says at the core of the problem is that African policy-makers don’t make decisions based on reality. Over 90% of Africa’s cannabis production is for the recreational market. It’s illegal right now. But why doesn’t Africa base it’s cannabis policy on leveraging this reality into supplying countries where recreational cannabis is legal. Instead, we want to create a new industry around supplying first world medicinal cannabis, a field in which we have no advantage whatsoever besides being exploited as a low-cost producer.
Despite this, SA is still one of the most progressive countries in the world in terms of cannabis reform. To the point where it broke ranks with its old friends China, Russia, Cuba, Libya to vote to decriminalize THC at the UN
And South Africa’s two listed cannabis companies, Nutrihold and Labat are bullish on their prospects as the African marijuana boom gets underway.
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