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Garth Strachan appointed as President’s Special Cannabis Advisor; Former Trade and Industry DDG To Pull Govt Departments into Line
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Brett Hilton Barber

22/07/09, 22:00

Trade and Industry taking control of cannabis regulation away from Justice

Strachan’s first job will be to align government policy on cannabis

Former DTIC DDG Garth Strachan is to head the Cannabis Desk in the Presidency and his first job will be to align policy between different Government departments. Although the appointment has not yet officially been announced, Eyewitness News reported on 15 June 2022 that Strachan had already begun work earlier this month.


Strachan will essentially take over the National Cannabis Master Plan (NCMP) from the Department of Agriculture, and will chair a new steering committee comprising of Government departments affected by legalization.


Cannabiz Africa reported in March 2022 that the Presidency wanted to establish a special cannabis desk   to speed up cannabis reform and create a regulatory environment for commercial trade.


Strachan will be part of  the Presidency and National Treasury’s Operation Vulindlela, the restructuring of key industries through partnerships between the public and private sectors.

Trade and Industry taking control of cannabis regulation away from Justice

The new “Cannabis Desk” will for the first time bring the six government entities essential to cannabis reform together around the same table:

  • Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DJCD):responsible for the legal system and legislative change, SAPS and Correctional Services oversight,

  • Department of Health (DoH): in charge of SAHPRA

  • South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHRA): the main cannabis regulatory body and issuer of medical cannabis licenses;

  • Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD): the present custodian of the NCMP and the issuing authority of hemp permits;

  • Department of Trade, Industry and Commerce (DTCI): previously uninvolved in the cannabis debate but understood to have completed a cannabis policy framework document.

The steering committee’s first job will be to analyse what laws need to be changed to enable government’s plans to industrialize cannabis. The ‘cannabis desk’ will be responsible for drawing up an action plan and a timeline for its implementation and the President wants a progress report every quarter.


Strachan’s brief according to the job application forms  is “a coordination role within the Presidency, working within the Operation Vulindlela team. The purpose of the role is to support the development, completion and implementation of the Cannabis Master Plan (CMP) and associated interventions to establish a clear path towards an inclusive industrial capacity base for the beneficiation of cannabis and hemp.

Strachan’s job specs

Internal / Operational Processes
• Communicating and engaging with key stakeholders within both government and industry with regard to the development of the master plan and other interventions to enable the growth of the sector. 
• Providing expert input to the Presidency and the Operation Vulindlela team on issues related to the cannabis sector.
• Coordinating a Steering Committee comprising the relevant departments, including the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, the Department of Health, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, on behalf of the Presidency.
• Determining actions and priorities from the master plan and elsewhere that could be taken forward by the Steering Committee.
• Developing an action plan on this basis to guide the work of the Presidency and Operation Vulindlela, including identifying responsibilities of relevant departments and agencies.  Including an Action Plan for the Cannabis Industry, drawing on the master plan and other sources (including timelines and responsibility for actions
• Co-ordinate the implementation of the action plan
• Expert input and support for the development of the Cannabis Master Plan
• Workshops and engagements with key stakeholders, including industry 
• Quarterly progress reports and feedback presentations to the Presidency and the IDC. 
• Development of dashboard for monitoring implementation of the Action Plan.

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Garth Strachan appointed as President’s Special Cannabis Advisor; Former Trade and Industry DDG To Pull Govt Departments into Line