The winelands have emerged as the centre of legal cannabis and hemp production in the Western Cape where the provincial government is developing its own cannabis master plan, the “CanPlan”, to take full advantage of cannabis legalization.
The Deputy Director General of Agricultural Research and Regulatory Services for the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Ilse Trautmann, says “the Department is currently in the process of compiling the first CanPlan for the Western Cape as we would like to grow the production, processing, tourism and export potential of these crops”.
Speaking ahead of the Cape Town Cannabis Expo on 22 March 2023, she said that although the permitting of cannabis and hemp was controlled at a national level, the CanPlan would identify the role of the provincial department.
She said it was important to distinguish between hemp and cannabis but confirmed that there were dozens of licensed projects currently underway in the province. The Western Cape had 23% of the country’s 80 or so SAHPRA-issued cannabis export licences.
“The licences (for cannabis) are spread across the West Coast, Boland, Metro, Overberg and Klein Karoo, with a bigger concentration in the Cape Winelands,” said Trautmann. “Regarding hemp, which is licenced by our national Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, there are 11 permits issued in the Western Cape, with 300 permits nationally. “These permits are spread across the Western Cape.”
Trautman said that the permitting of both cannabis and hemp was at a national level, adding that the provincial department abided by the regulatory framework.
“The benefits would be aligned to our growth for jobs strategy. As the department, we have been supporting and giving advice to both cannabis and hemp and we do not have concerns as long as both hemp and cannabis is legally produced with a legal permit in place.”