Eswatini Daily News

By Bongiwe Zwane-Maseko

Expectations for cannabis-inclusive economic development are high. This is just one of the findings from the Institute for Economic Justice’s Cannabis Paper.

Urgent regulatory reform, farmer development, and market access for South Africa’s cannabis and hemp sector form the cornerstone of a ground-breaking research paper by the Institute for Economic Justice (IEJ).

According to Food For Mzansi, the report by the IEJ has indicated that though the cannabis industry can contribute to inclusive economic development, there is still a long way to go to ensure that the barriers growers faced are dealt with.

The 75-page report is called “Inclusive development in the South African cannabis industry: assessing the challenges, encourages industry players to get the basics right”.

A contributing researcher to the report, Katrina Lehmann-Grube, said that for cannabis to flourish in South Africa, policy challenges required serious focus.

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“We need to establish a competitive position in the global cannabis market, avoiding the commodity trap and embracing social and environmental upgrading. We also need to create an inclusive cannabis industry and leverage on the domestic demand,” she added.

Lehmann-Grube said once the country has regulated legal adult use of cannabis, she anticipates key commercial growth opportunities and a significant uptick in domestic use.

“There is a need for regulation to balance commercial, social and health imperatives and also an urgent need to create clarity on the legal and regulatory framework.”

Meanwhile, according to the report, achieving growth – inclusive of the growers – in the cannabis industry, requires an urgent roundtable discussion. These discussions, the report said, should focus on the regulatory system which hampers development and the production of cannabis and hemp in the country.

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