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National Cannabis Master Plan: Breakthrough Session Charts Way Forward

The South African Government has bounced back into the cannabis landscape pledging to engage more deeply with stakeholders and fast track the National Cannabis Master Plan (NCMP)

At a breakthrough virtual workshop with over 300 attendees, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), said it would be championing the roll-out of the NCMP and called for all final proposals to be submitted to it by 6 April 2021.  

Although the NCMP will involve support from multiple government agencies, ideologically it will be housed in the country’s agro-processing hub.

 

DALRRD said the NCMP will be run by the following structure and invited input as to the composition of the various committees detailed below:

Executive Oversight Committee (EOC)

1 high-level leadership team to co-ordinate policy; members to be at ministerial and industry players and farmers associations;

 

Master Plan Task Team (MPTT)

9 teams consisting of Sectorial interests, State-owned enterprises, social partners and others grouped around the 9 pillars identified as the core of the NCMP;

 

Provincial Cannabis Committees (PCC)

9 teams drawn from provincial authorities and local social and business groupings tasked with implementing the NCMP at a provincial level;

 

Programme Management Office (PMO)

A tightly focused secretariat that would support the EOC and ensure the MPTT and PCCs are all working together;

 

DALLRD’s project manager Thabo Ramashala called on the industry to make submissions on the composition of the various committees to workshop convener Francena Rakgahla  on francinaR@dalrrd.gov.za

Although the deadline is tight, the move has been welcomed by many as an indication that there’s a new urgency in government’s willingness to develop the cannabis economy.

During the five-hour meeting, government unveiled the 6 pillars it intends to develop the cannabis economy on (See story here) and invited critical input on its plans to make cannabis part of South Africa’s agro-processing strategy. 

 

National Cannabis Master Plan; Small scale farmer

Don’t lock out the small guys

 

During the engagement, DALARRD convener Thabo Ramashala acknowledged many of government’s shortcomings in getting a comprehensive framework together but pointed out this was the 11th stakeholder engagement in two years, that the sector was highly fragmented and that legal challenges complicated policy formation. He stressed that the Department wanted to get as much input from the industry as possible as soon as possible.

 

In Ramashala’s feedback to stakeholders, he undertook that government would:

  • Fast track the National Cannabis Master Plan to unlock opportunities across the value chain
  • Take up as a matter of urgency the continued prosecution of cannabis-related cases;
  • Transfer the control of hemp to the Department of Agriculture away from the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority
  • Relook at the current licensing framework to take into account community-ownership models;
  • Possibly re-examine the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill which outlaws the sale of recreational cannabis;
  • Engage with traditional healers as to their perspective on medicinal marijuana
  • Pay more attention to protecting local landraces and indigenous knowledge

 

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