The City of Cape Town has approved the release of vacant land for the production of medical cannabis in a pioneering decision File picture: Ted S. Warren/AP Photo.
The City of Cape Town has approved the release of vacant land for the production of medical cannabis in a pioneering decision, which will set the foundation to unlock Cape Town’s potential in this untapped sector.

The council's decision to release this erven in Atlantis is testament of the city's commitment to partner with the private sector to explore new opportunities to grow the economy, CoCT said. 

The report approved by council was to seek approval for the transfer of a portion of vacant land within the Atlantis Special Economic Zone for the establishment of the first medical cannabis plant in the metro and the Western Cape.

"This positive move by the city gives us the opportunity to unlock the economic benefits with the resultant job creation opportunities that this emerging industry will present," said Mayco Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management James Vos.

The set-up of the facility will bring with it an investment of R638 million in capital expenditure during the construction of phase one. Additionally, a further R1,5 billion will be invested during phase two which is expected to commence in about four year’s time.

By the end of phase two employment opportunities for 250 individuals would have been created.

"It is personally a very exciting opportunity to be on the forefront and driving the future possibilities that this landmark decision means for the city and the region. My portfolio oversees the identification, facilitation and promotion of economic opportunities within the City, and as such, we welcome the investment and the expansion into untapped economic sectors," said Vos.

Atlantis is known for its ‘green’ economic opportunities, and this new industry can potentially bring significant income, jobs and skills development especially to this area.

The city said that this is yet another area of untapped economic potential that the team in the city’s Enterprise and Investment Department along with Wesgro, have been pursuing and working with potential investors in this space to see how we can land their investment in Cape Town. 

Wesgro led the engagement sessions between the stakeholders (government and the private sector) to pave the way for this investment. 

These are the new investment opportunities the city will pursue and attract to Cape Town.

"Cape Town is known for health care excellence and for being the leader in this field as the home of the first heart transplant. With Cape Town’s proximity to excellent universities and world-class infrastructure there is much potential for research in this emerging sector," said Vos.

This is the second facility planned for Atlantis, a similar facility for the cultivation and processing of medicinal cannabis into oils and capsules is being developed on a private farm in close proximity to the industrial area. Other locally-based players in the industry include a manufacturer of modular cannabis cultivation kits in shipping containers in Somerset West.

"Council approval helps us to deliver on our commitment to facilitate investment and job creation in our prized Atlantis SEZ," said Vos.

The city’s support for emerging industries in Cape Town, such as the Green Pharma industry, is a demonstration of our commitment to building an opportunity city. These industries hold immense benefits for the city and its residents.