Focus on hemp only contradicts Zikalala’s SOPA
The eagerly-awaited KwaZulu Natal provincial cannabis committee is only going to focus on hemp and not medical or recreational cannabis! That surprising news emerged from Premier Sihle Zikalala’s spokesman Lennox Mabaso, who told the Greytown Gazette on 16 March that the committee would only be active in finalizing a provincial master plan for hemp
“The use for both medicinal and recreational reasons so far falls outside the work of the committee,” he said.
This stands in direct contradiction to what the Premier said in his SOPA that a new committee would look at both hemp and cannabis policy frameworks. Zikalala said: “The responsibilities of the committee would involve overseeing the cannabis and hemp industry; ensuring adherence to regulatory systems; seed supply systems; and research and technology development”.
Hemp Focus will limit Committee’s relevance to traditional growers
However, it now appears that cannabis policy has fallen off the table and KZN is only going to focus on hemp. This means that the only engagement they will have with traditional growers in KZN is to try and persuade them to replace their high THC-landraces with low-THC hemp. This is unlikely to be met with much enthusiasm. If the Eastern Cape is anything to go by, the consumption and cultivation of cannabis is part and parcel of rural life and the uMzimvubu Farmers Support Network has sent a clear message to Government – it doesn’t want to replace traditional landraces with hemp.
One of the main concerns about the development of a hemp industry in areas where high THC cannabis is grown is the issue of cross-contamination. In Humboldt County in California, hemp farming is banned because it would affect the high-THC strains that the area is famous for.