Picture: John Locher/AP/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: John Locher/AP/African News Agency (ANA)

SA’s first cannabis college on cards for Eastern Cape

By Asanda Sokanyile Time of article published Feb 15, 2020

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Cape Town - All those in favour of a cannabis college, say “Aye”.

It seems the decision was

unanimous as the Eastern Cape provincial government gave the nod to the first cannabis college in the country.

The Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform in the Eastern Cape said the decision was taken in order to generate a new revenue stream for the province.

“The Eastern Cape has identified cannabis as one of the critical sub-

sectors of agriculture that can be exploited to create economic growth and create employment.”

In 2018, the Constitutional Court unanimously ruled to decriminalise private consumption, cultivation and possession of cannabis.

The government has until September to bring legislation on cannabis in line with the Constitution.

The primary goal of the department with the college is to take advantage of the projected $39.4 billion (R586bn) growth by 2023 while also creating much-needed jobs in the province to help bridge the unemployment rate of 29%.

“If we cannot convert the primary products into secondary products, it will mean the province will only be the supplier of primary products.

“This college must, therefore, help us to have the province involved in the complete value chain,” said the department.

The college will deal with engineering or artisanal capability. “This is a serious economy that we cannot afford to leave outside of the province.

“If you look at the financial and economic skills, the current colleges and even universities in our country do not have these sector-specific skills that are required to drive the cannabis economy we are talking of.

“These skills will then help us with extra-high value chemicals or compound from Magwa tea for

the purposes of cosmetics as well. This college is, therefore, intended to be the centre of knowledge on all aspects of cannabis,” confirmed Agrarian Reform spokesperson Ayongenzwa

Lungisa.

The college is set to be built in the Ngquza Hill Local Municipality in Lusikisiki because of its rich soil the area’s reputation for growing the herb.

“Lusikisiki is known to be ‘the world’s capital of cannabis’ and we want to make sure we embrace

cannabis for medical and commercial purposes,” said Lungisa.

“The Eastern Cape is constantly searching for ideas and ways on how to contribute to the gross domestic product of the province. Unlike

alcohol and cigarettes, cannabis has great health benefits such as treating cancer, Alzheimer’s and insomnia.”

Lungisa said the idea came as a result of a trip to Canada in 2018, where after just a month of legalisation, the country saw a spike in jobs and unprecedented development in the industry.

“Countries such as Uruguay and Canada are the first and second countries respectively to have legalised

cannabis,” he explained.

“Cannabis has awakened us to set up the foundation to exploit our natural resources and use our own indigenous knowledge to produce products that live up to market standards,” Lungisa added.

Weekend Argus

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