R25 000 will get you a license to grow your own weed
Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency(ANA)
R25 000 will get you a license to grow your own weed Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency(ANA)

R23 000 will get you a license to grow your own weed

By Kailene Pillay Time of article published Nov 28, 2019

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Durban - The government is encouraging KwaZulu-Natal farmers and entrepreneurs to grow marijuana for medicinal use to position the province as a leading exporter of cannabis.

According to the Moses Kotane Institute, it will cost a budding farmer around R23 000 for a farming licence.

The licence is only part of the requirements: secured and fenced land, a resident funnel system, lighting, approval from the Department of Health and much more is also required.

Speaking at the Cannabis Investment Protocol at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre yesterday, the MEC for Economic Development, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, said the province was looking to use the cannabis industry to stimulate agriculture and many other sectors.

She called on “ordinary” members of society who had been involved in the planting of marijuana to grab at opportunities the government was providing.

“Our focus as the government is ordinary communities in rural areas, because they have a long history of growing and consuming cannabis - though they have been doing it ­illegally.

“Now that the government is opening up opportunities, we don’t want ordinary members of society to be marginalised,” she said.

Available statistics revealed that the cannabis industry was worth more than R100 billion. The UN said South Africa produced 2300 tons of marijuana annually - making the country the third-largest producer of the plant and related products in Africa.

In addition, the African Cannabis Report of March 2019, published by Prohibition Partners, estimated that by 2023 the total value of the country’s cannabis industry would be around $1.8bn (R26bn).

This was based on the assumption that the government would move quickly over the regulation of the cannabis industry.

Dube-Ncube said she had no doubt that South Africa’s export to Europe would increase drastically once cannabis entered the market.

“The province is blessed with an enviable location that includes two world-class harbours and a globally recognised multi-modal logistics complex. This, combined with a diversified economy, gives it a unique opportunity to fully exploit an export-orientated growth,” she said.

Both the provincial and national departments of Agriculture and Rural Development would help those interested in accessing land, testing, fencing and accessing business support from an agricultural perspective.

Dube-Ncube said the department and its entities were ready to support the SMME’s and co-operatives with training, mentorship and funding.

The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs would also help to ensure the participation of traditional leaders.

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