Hemp and Medical Cannabis Legalized in South Africa following president Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address in Parliament.

The 2020 State of the Nation address had a pleasant surprise when the president of the country announced that hemp and medical cannabis would be legalized. “This year we will open up and regulate the commercial use of hemp products. Providing opportunities for small scale farmers. This is our approach to the opportunities that are offered by cannabis farming, which happens throughout the country. We will formulate policy on the use of cannabis products for medicinal purposes. To build this industry in line with global trends.”

The announcement received large applause from parliament, while the president continued. ” The regulatory steps…. I can see that when I talk about cannabis people get quite excited. I begin to wonder whether they get excited because they know about it or know how it is used or are users themselves.”

The policies on hemp and medicinal cannabis will be announced by the respective government ministers in the coming months. While certainly good news, it is unlikely that these industries will be a blank cheque for growers and sellers. Many obstacles will still need to be overcome in terms of the regulations and licensing that are likely to go with these new laws. So growers still need be discreet.

It has taken considerable local public push and pressure from international investors to get the cannabis industry on government’s agenda. While the recreational personal growing and use of the plant by adults remains a grey area following decriminalization in 2018 – there are still regular arrests for corner store sellers.

Let’s hope that therw aren’t too many barriers to entry. And that this is truly an opportunity for small scale farmers.