The fledgling South African hemp industry is set to take off this year – or is it?
It’s been a month of significant developments in which:
- The Gauteng Government has called for the private sector to put in proposals to industrialize cannabis in the province and says it is willing to look at funding projects;
- Leading South African cannabis processor Afriplex has announced bold plans to move into hemp, and has established a dedicated team to look at developing hemp-based products;
- JSE-listed Labat Africa has entered into a JV with the CSIR to upgrade its Coega hemp facility and says its in discussion with a leading textile manufacturer to start using hemp;
- Industry experts at a Cheeba Craft Cannabis TV webinar have identified that growing hemp for the food and beverage and construction sectors are the “lowest-hanging fruit” to get the industry off the ground;
- The same experts said the 0,2% THC restriction for hemp and excessive bureaucracy were impediments to getting a viable hemp industry off the ground;
- The Cannabis Research Institute has wrapped up a Piketberg pilot project that proves hemp-fed chickens perform better and their eggs will soon be on the Western Cape market;
- Onerous red-tape and out-dated laws are undermining the hemp application process, by way of example: hemp veteran Natie Ferreirra is still waiting for the police to rubber stamp his application which he submitted at Christmas! He says the hemp application process is worse than before they tried to streamline it! He’s even written to the President to complain;
- Calls from the private sector for Government to urgently amend laws preventing the cannabis economy from getting out of the starting blocks have become louder, particularly from the big players like Labat and Goodleaf.