Local restaurant Col’Cacchio will offer cannabis pizzas to its customers that "contains no THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) or synthetic chemicals". Picture: Supplied
Cape Town - Cape Town residents will have their first bite of the ever-increasing cannabis industry on Tuesday when a well-known pizza chain will serve cannabis pizza to its customers.

Co-founder of Col’Cacchio, Kinga Baranowska, said: “The pizzas will be drizzled with AfricanPure Cannabidiol (CBD oil) which contains no THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) or synthetic chemicals, making it absolutely safe to enjoy. Customers will also be able to add CBD oil to any other dish on the menu at an additional cost of R25.”

AfricanPure is just one of the leading African CBD brands to have come on to the market in South Africa since the announcement by the National Department of Health that CBD can be legally bought in the country.

The March 2019 Prohibition Partners Africa Report said South Africa’s market is now expected to be worth about R25.8billion by 2023. Having seen the economic potential offered by the local production of medicinal cannabis, the province has latched on to the “weed economy” big time.

In April, the Paarl-based company Afriplex, in partnership with the House of Hemp, was the first to be awarded a licence for the cultivation and commercial production of medicinal cannabis by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority.

Medicinal cannabis uses the cannabis plant, or chemicals in it, to treat diseases or medical conditions.

Last month, Wesgro, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, decided to release vacant land near Atlantis for the production of medicinal cannabis.

Mayco member for economic opportunities and asset management, James Vos, said at the time: “The set-up of the facility will bring with it an investment of R638million in capital expenditure during the construction of phase one. A further R1.5bn will be invested during phase two, expected to commence in about four years’ time.”

The health technology sector in the Western Cape contributes an estimated R1.7bn to its economy and creates about 2500 full-time jobs. The province hosts one of the highest concentrations of medical device and healthcare companies, research institutes and research groups in South Africa.

A report by Wesgro said: “The Western Cape region in particular has already attracted significant investor interest, based not only upon its strength in agriculture, but also because Cape Town is fast becoming Africa’s leader in pharmaceutical research and development and a centre for bio- and health-tech.”

Looking at the profits that can be made, South Africa is following Lesotho, which was the first African country to legalise the cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis.

One of its leading producers of medicinal cannabis products is Bophelo Bioscience, run by Louisa Mojela, founder and chief executive of Women Investment Portfolio Holdings, a R3.5bn Joburg-listed company. Last week, a Canadian company, Halo Labs Inc, announced plans to acquire Bophelo Bioscience in a deal worth about R263m.

@MwangiGithahu

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Cape Argus