Friends of Hemp South Africa co-founder M Ayanda Bam believes that a single over-arching cannabis law that regulates commercial trade is at least three years away. Speaking during the launch of the IEJ’s Cannabis Report on 24 February 2023, Bam said that the Government remains the major challenge in cannabis reform.
M Ayanda Bam of Zegeta Consultats and Friends of Hemp SA has decried “the fundamenal lack of imagination” in Government in unlocking opportunities in the cannabis sector and said the jostling of power between Government departments was undermining the development of an inclusive cannabis economy.
“A higher power needs to take control” said Bam, highlighting the plight of legacy growers and mismatched legislation, adding that this year’s SONA was “embarrassing” in that there had been no movement in the past year and that “the only creativity is coming from civil society”.
“There are two key requirements that traditional growers have from Government” said Bam.
“Government needs to create a legal environment for them and help provide access to markets. After that Government should simply get out of the way!”
Bam, who is Business Unity South Africa’s nominee to help get the National Cannabis Master Plan through Nedlac, says the cannabis industry is “moving ahead on a parallel path to Government and this will lead to major problems over the next five years”.
“Realistically, a single cannabis bill is three years away. This is not just a regulatory issue but there’s a tug of war between different Government departments”.
He said he was hoping for progress on the hemp sector this year, but Bam’s take-out on the cannabis industry is that “there’s a long and hard journey ahead, and frankly we must brace ourselves”!