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At a time when our unemployment rate shows no sign of coming down, and we don’t know where the money will come from to settle our exorbitant debt, it’s encouraging that there is a new opportunity to inject much-needed cash into our waning economy.
If done correctly, the African Cannabis Advisory (ACA) Group believe the cannabis industry could inject as much as R50 billion into the economy, while creating up to 25,000 jobs.
However, government and lawmakers would have to play their part in ensuring there is a solid legal framework and regulatory system in place.
We are not advocating this becomes a free-for-all process, but if managed and legislated correctly, it could provide a massive boost for the economy and small farmers, while also catering for those that use it for medical and recreational purposes.
In South Africa, you are allowed home possession and cultivation of cannabis, but not allowed to sell it.
ALSO READ: The poor must be included in SA’s cannabis industry boom, says Cosatu
Following a September 2018 Constitutional Court ruling it is not a criminal offence for an adult citizen to use, possess or grow cannabis for personal consumption.
However, though private use has been decriminalised, the buying and selling of cannabis, cannabis oil and cannabis seeds remain illegal.
Currently, parliament is taking public submissions on the Cannabis For Private Use Bill.
Cannabis has been legalised in a number of countries, while in the US it has created 325,000 jobs.
Sibusiso Xaba, chief executive of ACA Group, says “SA is one of the largest producers of illegal marijuana in the world with over 900,000 growers, including large-scale and small-scale farmers, as well as backyard growers”.
This strengthens the argument to legalise commercial use and not lose out on taxable income.
But there are far too many grey areas with cannabis and the law. Let’s hope this is cleared up.
Dagga: SA must ‘free the herb’ to tap into R50 billion goldmine