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Cabinet Updated on Cannabis Master Plan; DALRRD Says It Will Provide Industrial Cannabis Seeds From Next Year

Cabinet Updated on Cannabis Master Plan; DALRRD Says It Will Provide Industrial Cannabis Seeds From Next Year

A South African cabinet statement issued on 13 March 2024 said it received a “progress report” on the development of the cannabis sector but was thin on the details.

Cannabiz Africa

20 March 2024 at 12:00:00

The Cannabis Sector Progress Report says the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) would start providing hemp (industrial cannabis) seeds to farmers from 2025.


This was one of the few tangibles in the cabinet statement which said that DALRRD would “continue to develop hemp varieties”, but gave no further information. Currently there are two industrial cannabis varietals that have been developed for SA conditions but it is unclear as to whether they have yet been registered in terms of the Plant Protection Act.


It is also interesting to note that cannabis was entirely absent from this year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), whereas in the previous three SONAS, President Cyril Ramaphosa emphasized how cannabis could help boost the South African economy.


READ: NCOP signs off on Cannabis Bill, now it's up to President Ramaphosa to pass it into law


Stakeholders have told Cannabiz Africa that this does not bode well for new legislation allowing the commercial trade in cannabis and related products to be introduced any time soon.


The progress report is likely to be a prelude to President Cyril Ramaphosa signing off on the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill before the 29 May 2024 elections. It does not appear that the introduction of a commercial framework for cannabis formed part of the report, the relevant part of which is reproduced below:


Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

6.    Report on the Development of the Cannabis and Hemp Sector and the Cannabis Master Plan

6.1    Cabinet received a progress report on the Development of the Cannabis and Hemp Sector and the Cannabis Master Plan as part of government’s strategy to industrialise the Cannabis Sector.
6.2    The aim is to provide a framework for the establishment, growth and development of the Cannabis and Hemp industry in South Africa in order to contribute to economic growth, poverty alleviation and job creation.
6.3    In 2020, the Minister of Health approved changes to the scheduling of Cannabis plants under the Medicines and Related Substances Act and the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development declared hemp as an agricultural crop in terms of the Plant Improvement Act of 1976.
6.4    The Agricultural Research Council continue to develop hemp varieties, with the support of DALRRD, to make the seeds available for the 2025 planting season
6.5    When the Department of Health through the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority is currently consulting on further changes to the Schedules of the Medicines and Related Substances Act for purposes of allowing the Department of Health to regulate Cannabis for all medicinal uses, whilst the DALRRD will regulate the cultivation and processing of Cannabis and hemp for all other legitimate uses, such as industrial, cosmetic, human and food products applications.


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