PERMITS FOR production of cannabis to be issued from October 2021.
This was the confirmation by the Agriculture, land reform and rural development minister Thoko Didiza, during her department’s R16.9bn budget speech to National Assembly on Thursday.
This means issuing of issuing permits for production of hemp in October this year, will go ahead, although legalities and master plan might take long.
She said legalisation and commercialisation of cannabis in SA has been punted.
“An interdepartmental team was established to guide the development of the National Cannabis Master Plan, with ourselves the convener.
“The master plan is being presented to Nedlac before the end of May 2021. As the department, working with the department of justice, we have agreed that by October 2021 we will begin issuing and monitoring permits for the production of hemp in SA.
“We hope that the portfolio committee on justice will fast-track the removal of hemp from the drug-trafficking legislation so that we can indeed move with speed with commercialisation of hemp as the first phase,” said Didiza.
There has been a debate by policy-makers on the production of cannabis and now there’s progress, both locally and internationally.
On the issue of land, the minister said department had released more than 43,000ha of land in a year. “The land is an asset that can liberate women, not only in terms of ownership but also in the productive use of this asset for economic participation and livelihood.
“These land parcels included communities who have been using state land, farmers whose leases had either expired or never existed and some where no allocations were made,” said Didiza.
Last year, President Ramaphosa announced that the government would release 700,000ha of state land for agricultural purposes.
Our neighbours Lesotho has made inroads with the licensing of cannabis and hemp.
Image (Agriculture, land reform and rural development minister Thoko Didiza).