The National Cannabis Master Plan is being discussed behind closed doors at Nedlac and a ministerial report will be drafted before any details are given to the public.
Nedlac convener Judy Blom told Cannabiz Africa on 18 June 2021 that “Government had formally requested the tabling of the Cannabis Master Plan for engagement by the social partners in the Trade and Industry Chamber. This process is underway and will follow the Nedlac protocols”.
She said the social partners – big business, government and labour organizations – were “mindful that public interest was high on this issue, but documents tabled by the social partners at Nedlac are embargoed until the engagement is completed and the Nedlac Report on the matter is sent to the relevant Ministers after sign off by all the Nedlac structures”.
Nedlac’s protocols allow for submissions in the following four categories
- Category 1: issues that require a tweaking of proposals or minimal engagement: to be dealt with within three months;
- Category 2: extensive engagement between stakeholders to be deal with within six months;
- Category 3: issues or proposals that require further systematic research or information, in which case the stakeholders determine the timetable;
- Category 4: Green Papers: to be signed off in one meeting or within three months
The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) is in charge of the NCMP. DALRRD’s Thabo Ramashala says there have been several consultations during the past few months with:
- the Department of Health in all provinces.
- Researchers and experts in Cannabis sector
- COGTA and the National House of Traditional Leaders
- Department of Higher Education and Training
In a presentation to Wesgro, the Western Cape investment agency on the status of the NCMP on 22 April 2021, Ramashala said the major issues raised so far were:
- Licensing challenges
- Confusion regarding hemp permits
- Illegal products on the local markets
- High entry barriers
He said changes had already been made to regulations of the Plant Improvement Act to made provision of regulating hemp as an agricultural crop and that work had been done on the Plant Breeders Rights Act to provide for the protection of intellectual properties.