The Cannabis Expo – South Africa will kick off it’s 2023 tour on 24-26 March in Cape Town. To get a bit of background and let you know what going down, we spoke to Trenton Birch from the Cheeba Africa Cannabis Academy. This is what he had to say.
What are your expectations for the expo?
The expo started out being very business to business, but seems to be moving more to a business to consumer thing, moving from ICBC to Spannabis. The expo is important both for the country and the industry and every time it happens something good comes from it. So, we are looking forward to attending and learning, as inevitably happens.
What is the current government stand on cannabis in South Africa?
Absolutely nothing is happening. I am part of the Master Plan committee. That started falling apart last year. It has now stalled completely, so there is no movement or attempt by the government to hear how cannabis can work for them. There is talk of reignition, so we’ll see what happens. What is interesting is that on a local government level, the municipalities are pushing hard. So, on a grassroots level, things are happening, but the government of the country is not actively driving the process at all.
…and legislation wise?
The Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill that got the ball rolling back in 2018 has been worked and reworked and then they did some more work on it. It looks like the draft is almost ready and there is talk about the fact that it may feature an adult usage clause.
Ok, give us some good news!
The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has started issuing growing permits for hemp and there is talk that the allowable THC content will be raised from 0,2% to 2%.
However, because these plants contain THC which is theoretically still a banned substance, the Department of Justice is not happy about it and may act on people growing hemp. There is also unhappiness that the Revenue Service is taxing and collecting money from something that is still illegal. There is also concern that the types of licenses issued is in no way going to help or benefit the subsistence farmers. It can only be commercially successful if they start forming co-operatives.
Is it possible for South Africa to become competitive in the international market?
At the moment our approach is wrong. We are trying to imitate the European way, taking coals to Newcastle. We are using their seeds and we are growing in tunnels. This is ridiculous. We have some of the best seeds in the world and we have lots of sunshine and weather that’s good for growing outdoor cannabis. So instead of trying to outdo the Europeans, we should be creating our own brand and market with what is uniquely ours.
Will you be attending The Cannabis Expo as well? Come by stand 30 so we can have a chat about the future of the South African cannabis industry! If you want to know more about our software and consulting services, book a meeting with our representative Wesley Petzer on site.