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South Africa’s President Promises Forward Cannabis Reform In State Of Union Speech

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New, pro-business cannabis reform has been prioritized by President as a means of economic development and post-Covid rescue of the economy

South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa said in his state of the union speech last week that cannabis reform in the country is now at the top of the economic development agenda. He specifically cited that the industry, which is on track to create over 130,000 new jobs, needs a regulatory structure to flourish, but that it held a bright promise for the country.

Cannabis reform has been on a slow, but steady track towards progress here. In September 2020, a much-criticized bill was introduced in Parliament, but a combination of Covid and other issues with the legislation has slowed its passage down.

No more. Rampaphosa is on a campaign to change all that.

“We want to harness this,” he said. “We are going to fast-track policy and regulations for the use of cannabis for medical use, especially in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.”

Cannabis Reform in Africa

South Africa of course, is jumping on a bandwagon led regionally by Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Morocco. 

The entire industry represents a tantalizingly valuable, renewable commodities market for which the rest of the world is developing a large appetite. The European and Israeli medical markets (for starters) represent a destination for African-grown cannabis that is unlikely to abate, particularly given both the costs and hostility towards full reform that still exists at least within the EU (in official circles at least).

Beyond this, there are clearly other huge possibilities dawning for an intra-Africa industry that are drawing investors globally, but particularly at this point from North America and increasingly, Europe. 

Beyond the medical and consumer’s market for edibles, the industrial hemp vertical is also being examined as a way to do everything from cleaning up pollution left by gold and diamond mining to creating cheap and planet-friendly construction materials.

The Race for Cannabis Reform

Africa, in fact, represents one of the more interesting cannabis frontiers now. American, Canadian, and European investors are flocking to opportunities in the cultivation and extraction space. Israel beat everyone to the punch by importing early. North Macedonia too has been a regular client. Germany began importing from the Dark Continent last year.

The question, however, so far, is where are the Chinese?

One thing, however, is crystal clear. As in the last African “Age of Exploration,” an international group of investors is now looking at opportunities of the cannabis kind all over the continent. And that in turn, is helping to seed an industry that took root long ago. This time, of course, it will be of the legal, certified kind.

Be sure to book your tickets to the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference events in Barcelona, Berlin, and Zurich as well as the Global Investment Forum in Berlin this summer!

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