New hemp regulatory regime introduced
Hemp in South Africa is no longer a narcotic. It is a grain. The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) has signalled its impatience with the Justice Department’s inaction in changing cannabis laws and has gone ahead on its own and gazetted new hemp regulations. Thoko Didiza issued an amendment to the Plant Improvement Act of 1976 on 8 October 2021, effectively defining cannabis with less than 0,2% THC as an agricultural crop, for which it will issue permits.
Despair! We’re still at 0,02% THC debate
This landmark amendment effectively opens up the potential of hemp to be a significant driver in South Africa’s post-coved economy. But it also shows how DALRRD hasn’t come to grips yet with South Africa’s cannabis agricultural realities – 0,2% THC levels won’t be consistently attainable, our sunlight and latitude naturally spike THC levels in any cannabis grown.
DALRRD says it will issue 2 year, non-transferable hemp permits and allow the registered import of hemp seeds, growing and transporting the crop. Its Eastern Cape provincial department has already agreed to fund a hemp training farm in Uitenhague and at least three major hemp operations say they are ready to go.
This is a developing story