South Africa is to launch a new hemp licensing regime beginning in October 2021. This was announced in parliament on 12 May 2021 by Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza, who is now in charge of hemp regulation.
She said she would be presenting the National Cannabis Master Plan (NCMP) to Nedlac before the end of May 2021 and this would entail a new set of regulations being drawn up around hemp. (See story here).
Parliament must “urgently legalize hemp”
Minister Didiza presented her department’s budget vote to a virtual sitting of a mini-plenary of the National Assembly. She urged parliament to urgently decriminalize hemp production and to separate the licensing authority from the Department of Health which will continue to be responsible for medical cannabis authorization.
“The legalisation and commercialisation of cannabis have been at the forefront of public debate and on top of the agenda of policymakers globally.”
She said an inter-departmental team, comprising representatives from various departments, was established to guide the development of the National Cannabis Master Plan (NCMP) with her department as the convener.
Didiza added the Cannabis Master Plan would be presented to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) before the end of May 2021.
DALRRD now responsible for hemp permits
“The department will, with the help of the Department of Justice, as of October 2021, begin issuing and monitoring permits for the production of hemp in South Africa, as the first instance.
“And we hope the Portfolio Committee on Justice will actually fast-track the removal of hemp from the drug trafficking legislation so that we can indeed move with speed with the commercialisation of hemp as the first phase.”