High hopes for cannabis

South Africa is aiming for a cannabis master plan, according to agriculture minister Thoko Didiza. However she stressed that the focus is on the hemp plant, used to make a variety of commercial and industrial products. Commercial production and use of dagga (the drug also known as marijuana), which shares the genus cannabis with hemp, remains prohibited.

Hemp has been declared an agricultural crop, she said, allowing hemp to be imported, exported, cultivated, sold and researched.

“This is a step towards the development of the Cannabis Master Plan, which aims to provide a broad framework for the development and growth of the South African cannabis industry in order to contribute to the economic development, job creation, inclusive participation, rural development and poverty alleviation.”

Conservative estimates were that 25 000 jobs could be created across various value chains, the minister stated.