Last year, the Constitutional Court ruled that the private use, cultivation and possession for personal use of cannabis was legal.
Leaf Botanicals chief executive Johanne van der Colff said: “The licence allows us to start up a business that will create work opportunities and earn foreign currency for SA.”
The cannabis would be cultivated in the Northern Cape, Van der Colff said, and the company would only be growing the plant and supplying the medicinal market.
“It is really important that we distinguish between cannabis for medical use and cannabis for private use. The cannabis for medical use is very regulated, the same as for any other medicine.”
Getting the licence took the company three years, and an agreement has now been signed with Agrotiva Ltd, a fully-licensed cannabis producer in Canada.
University of KwaZulu-Natal associate professor and head of the programme of Bio and Research Ethics and Medical Law, Sylvester Chima said: “It’s clear that cannabis affects people in different ways.
“While some may have no ill-effects, some may become paranoid or anxious, which could lead to depression and anxiety.”
Chima added that there were various medical conditions that cannabis-containing medicines had been known to help treat. \