“One can apply for a medicinal licence through SAHPRA [the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority],” Birch suggests first. But this is quite a comprehensive process and it requires capital to set up a “good manufacturing process” (GMP) facility where production of pharmaceuticals take place. It is a lengthy process and entails standard operating procedures, where everything needs to be regulated, checked and tested, in order to grow medicinal cannabis.
These education channels are very important in the cannabis sector, Birch says, as there are many different ways to grow the plant, as well as many legal hurdles to overcome.
How to farm cannabis legally
The bottom line is thus, if you do not have an export licence, you cannot get a licence to grow and even if you have an export licence, it doesn’t guarantee you will get a growing licence. This is because your product needs to be grown to a certain standard.
A cannabis market in South Africa?
For now, opportunities for farmers and producers are on hold unless you import. “The industry is coming online, but until legislation is clarified by the government, it will take some time,” says Birch.
SABC News interviewed Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris and he said that the first commercial licences for cultivating cannabis have been issued.
Cannabis is said to be an emerging industry, and one that has the potential to propel Africa, to a large scale exporter. The continent’s revenue is expected to reach billions of dollars within the next few years.
The latest developments in cannabis
Business leaders, scientists and experts gathered in Cape Town on Tuesday 26 November 2019, to discuss the economic value of cannabis, after the Constitutional Court decriminalised the use of cannabis in South Africa, in 2018.
Growing weed at home
“By supplying your own seeds your choice of strain is endless. Give us that special strain, we’ll grow it to perfection. Local seed banks such as CannaBank and Green Smoke Room provide quality genetics from international breeders, and serve as a great resource for information on cannabis strains,” said The Haze Club.