New Plant Improvement Act: SAPS Authorization Still Required for Industrial Cannabis Permits
Despite the Justice Department’s proposed intention to remove cannabis from the control of the security cluster, the new Plant Improvement Act still specifies that authorization to grow industrial cannabis still needs the sign off of the local police commander.
18 October 2023 at 11:00:00
The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) is responsible for implementing a revised version of the National Cannabis Master Plan. To this effect it was co-host, along with the Presidency of the breakthrough policy meeting with stakeholders in June 2023 – The Phakisa Hemp and Cannabis Action Lab encounter.
One of the outcomes of the engagements was that industrial cannabis was to be defined by the purpose it was to be used for and that THC limits would not be a determinant. This is a world-first policy initiative that will enable legacy growers to define local landraces as industrial cannabis or hemp.
However, DALRRD’s recent release of the amended Plant Improvement Act (which has been heavily criticized) still makes reference to THC limits (0,2%) that are acceptable for “hemp” and that the registration of any new varietals must come with forensic proof.
It also states that:
14.1 Any person who wants to cultivate hemp must be in possession of a hemp permit. The permit holder must submit a notice of planting to the Registrar as well as a copy of the notice to the nearest police station within 28 days after planting. The Registrar must issue an acknowledgement notice to the grower (permit holder) and a copy to SAPS and DALRRD Inspection Services.
14.2 Planting maps, photographs of the premises and GIS coordinates indicating the location(s) of each variety on each planting site must be submitted to Registrar; in case of any change in this information, Registrar must be notified.
14.4 Clear and comprehensive directions to each site as well as contact details ofthe responsible person who will also accept legal responsibility for the premises and activities on each premises must be provided.
As Cannabiz Africa has pointed out before, trying to enforce low THC levels in the southern African environment risks continued criminalization of legacy growers because of the climatically-driven THC spikes.
Experts have told Parliament that it would be far wiser to classify local landraces as industrial cannabis despite whatever THC levels they have and The Phakisa has agreed. A new legislative framework is being driven by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition which is assisting DALRRD with getting the Cannabis Master Plan back on track.
Unfortunately the amended PIA still reflects outdated thinking and will require substantial amendment if it is to reflect Government policy.
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Cannabis in South Africa: The People’s Plant
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