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CDCSA Calls for Ramaphosa to set up Cannabis Desk to Co-ordinate Policy

The Cannabis Development Council of South Africa (CDCSA) has urged South African president Cyril Ramaphosa to unlock the cannabis economy as part of his post-Covid recovery plan. The CDCSA has called on the Presidency to urgently establish a Cannabis Desk to begin co-ordinating the various arms of state affected by the legalization of cannabis and hemp, or risk fumbling a once-in-a-generation opportunity.

It has called on the government to come up with its long-awaited Cannabis Master Plan (CMP) by June 2021.  In the meantime it has published its own Masterplan ( ).

The CDCSA Master Plan in essense proposes:​

  • A state Cannabis Development Agency to develop a multi-billion-rand cannabis value chain;
  • A shift in the current export-only strategy to developing both international and local markets for African cannabis;
  • The removal of restrictions hindering the development of a local adult use and medicinal cannabis market;
  • The empowerment of 100 000 small scale farmers through a rapid cannabis and hemp cultivation strategy;
  • the creation of regional agro-processing hubs that would grade and purchase cannabis and/or hemp for processing, extraction for both the local and export markets;
  • the use of indigenous knowledge systems to maximize South Africa’s competitive advantage on the world cannabis stage;
  • Increased academic research and clinical trails around cannabis;
  • a register of marijuana users who want to acquire cannabis for wellness or health and enable them to seek prescriptions from doctors and traditional healers;
  • the scrapping of the current SAHPRA licensing system and that regulation of hemp move to the Department of Agriculture;

The CDCSA says on its web-site: “In the short to medium term we are focused on opening the doors of communication with all tiers of government so as to educate and inform on the cannabis value chain and the potential it offers to South Africa as our primary Economic Reconstruction and Recovery agent post Covid 19 and State capture.”

It has put forward a rapid cannabis recovery plan that identifies opportunities across the value chain and says cultivation and processing of hemp could be immediately implemented if government could establish the right regulatory framework. The CDCSA has put private-public partnerships at the heart of its strategic approach and says the protection of indigenous landrace strains should be the cornerstone of South Africa’s cannabis policy.

A key point in the CDCSA master without a legal local market, the cannabis economy will not get off the ground.  To this its Western Cape branch has established a parliamentary lobby group with Nick Heinemann’s Afristar and through its provincial chapters is exploring public-private-community sector partnerships at a regional level.

CDCSA 's Cannabis Fundamental Principles

The CDCSA says cannabis policy needs to take into account the fundamental principles of what it calls the “7 fingers of the leaf”

7 fingers of the leaf

  1. Human rights

  2. Community Involvement

  3. Organically Grown

  4. 100% Natural Materials

  5. Low Carbon Footprint

  6. Proudly South African

  7. BBBEE

“The fundamental basis of our position is that our land race cannabis strains should be the cornerstone of our industrial cannabis strategy. This will allow existing cannabis farmers and their heritage genetics to be included in the development of this sunrise industry.”

CDCSA's Master Plan highlights potential cannabis sectors


  • Informal Farmers
  • Commercial Farmers
  • Cultural/Religious groups, Sangomas and traditional healers
  • Educational Institutions and Research facilities
  • Cannabis Co operatives

Manufacturing and Processing​

  • Semi processing Industries, hemp biomass suppliers, raw oil producers, Biomass producers – Industrial & Commercial
  • Pharmaceutical industries, medicine manufacturers,
  • Consumables manufacturers (non medicinal/recreational, cosmetics
  • Transporters and Storage
  • Industry related training and skills development providers (SETA Accreditation)
  • Biofuel Refineries
  • Other- As defined by the Minister and Apex regulatory bodies – Includes retail outlets

Retail and consumer suppliers​

  • Pharmacy outlets, clinics, treatment centers and medical institutions and Medical practitioners (not including traditional healers), veterinary outlets
  • Dispensaries – Non medicinal products, Edibles, recreational extracts
  • On consumption outlets (“Coffee shops”) and recreational user taverns
  • Industrial and Commercial products suppliers – Hemp textiles, bio fuel suppliers, Hemp based and processed non consumable product suppliers
  • Seed Suppliers
  • Hospitality and Tourism related industries, tour operators, medical tourist providers and treatment centres
  • Edible food products,

End User/Consumer markets​

  • Industrial and commercial applications,
  • Medical applications,
  • Recreational users,
  • Traditional healers,
  • Religious and cultural groups,
  • Foreign trade customers,
  • Textile and Hempcrete industries,
  • Bio fuels and plastics,
  • Clinics and healthcare centres,
  • Cannabis tours and hospitality.

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