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Cape Town, South Africa to Tackle Economy with Medical Cannabis and Hemp

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Following the South African president’s latest State of the Nation address, City of Cape Town officials announced that regulations will ensure that local residents benefit economically from cannabis legalization.

On Feb. 13 President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his federal plan for 2020 to regulate medical cannabis in the country during his State of the Nation address. Part of the plan includes providing ways for opportunities for small-scale farmers.

Following the legalization of medical cannabis in Lesotho and Zimbabwe, the Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled in September to legalize cultivation for private use for adults. There, the medical cannabis sector, especially for cultivation, is expected to open up. Several parcels of land in the town of Atlantis have been set aside for purchase by the private sector for the production of medical cannabis. Many farmers are also looking at the potential in non-psychoactive hemp.

James Vos is Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management. “This set the foundation to unlock Cape Town’s potential in this untapped sector. We have identified foreign investment interest and the possibility of it bringing in significant income, jobs and skills,” Vos told Business Day.

Locals report that Cape Town is attracting investors based on its dominance in agriculture, and because it is becoming a leader in biotech and pharmaceutical research and development. Wesgro, a major local business partner, is conducting research to seek out investment in the cannabis sector.

Prohibition Partners, a European consulting firm, reported on the vast potential for cannabis in Africa, especially near Cape Town. “Cannabis is already widely grown and consumed across the continent, with production currently standing at around 38,000 tonnes and consumption rates at 13.2 percent,” the report reads.

The many forms of cannabis are being explored as economic potential in South Africa, both for medicinal uses and for uses in textiles, clothing, food, paper insulation and more. The framework for hemp cultivation is also being developed, but for now, hemp cultivation is still forbidden.

 

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