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Thoko Didiza



About Thoko Didiza

Oh dear dear Minister Didiza, you mean well – but you’ve so got to get with the programme. You are the political champion of the National Cannabis Master Plan and have the privilege of unlocking the economic potential of the plant in a way that could transform millions of lives. Your department (DALRRD) is leading the way in South African cannabis reform and the vision of using legalization to uplift the poor in marginalised rural communities is so on the button. But you have got to start building credibility if you take on the cannabis industry, and making the stupid error of fact in your announcement of a new hemp regulatory framework on 29 October 2021 is a senseless own-goal. You said, and we quote you: “We appreciate the fact that various rural communities and farmers across South Africa have been planting hemp (editor’s emphasis) for many years”. No Minister, they’ve been growing high-THC Cannabis sativa for the illegal adult-use market: you’ve just defined hemp as C sativa with less than 0,2% THC, which your own advisors have warned may be difficult to consistently achieve. Cannabis is a serious business, so get your facts straight. Well done for finally getting a South African hemp industry off the ground, but frankly, the hemp regulations that have been gazetted are unnecessarily problematic and your ambition of converting SA’s cannabis farmers into hemp producers is dead as the proverbial dodo! Thanks to you, the struggle continues!



South Africa’s Minister for Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development is now effectively in charge of the National Cannabis Master Plan (NCMP). While there could be several worse choices, she’s not exactly confidence-inspiring – remember in 2016 when the ANC tried to make her mayor of Tshwane it was forced to backtrack after the news triggered riots that left five people dead. While her department has been hard at work liaising with stakeholders and trying to put together a viable economic cannabis framework, she’s not really in the game. Her hands are full with the current chairmanship of the African Union, the heat about land reform in SA and the factionalism in the ANC. Yes, she’s paid lip-service to the potential of cannabis but clearly she’s clueless and has a lot else on her plate But hey, we’re hoping there are enough competent officials in DALRRD who’ll drive the NCMP forward despite Didiza’s distractions.