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Cannabis Master Plan on Track

May 17, 2021

Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

The Draft Cannabis Master Plan will be tabled at NEDLAC before the end of May 2021.

The agriculture, land reform and rural development minister, Thoko Didiza, revealed this during the department’s 2021/22 budget vote speech in parliament.

The minister added that the agriculture, land reform and rural development department will, as of October 2021, begin issuing and monitoring permits for the production of hemp in South Africa.

The Draft Master Plan focuses on both hemp and dagga.

Key objectives include setting up an inclusive, sustainable and globally competitive cannabis industry in South Africa; increasing the volumes and variety of cannabis products destined for both local and export markets; establishing and increasing the capacity of South African farmers to produce dagga and hemp; creating opportunities for the creation of small-and medium-sized enterprises across the cannabis value chain; increasing investments in research and technology development to support increased production, productivity and competitiveness of the cannabis industry; establishing and increasing the manufacturing capacity of the South African cannabis industry and designating cannabis and hemp products with the designated local content legislative framework.

Other developments highlighted by the minister include the allocation of 436 563 hectares of the 700 000 ha of state land to be utilized for agricultural purposes, the approval by cabinet at the end of 2020 of the Beneficiary Selection and Land Allocation Policy and Land Donations Policy, the approval by cabinet of the Draft Plant Health (Phytosanitary) Bill and the Draft Agricultural Products Standards Amendment Bill for tabling in parliament and the conclusion of the conceptual framework of the Agriculture and Agro-processing Master Plan that calls for the co-existence of commercial and emerging farmers to promote the agricultural and food sectors on a new growth trajectory.

According to the cabinet statement this week, the Draft Agricultural Products Standards Amendment Bill provides for the control of sales and exports of certain agricultural products and promotes food safety.

It also seeks to strengthen the regulatory framework for agricultural production, health and food safety of certain agricultural products and tighten the control systems in areas of labelling claims in products for sale and introduce different inspections and auditing methods.

The Draft Plant Health (Phytosanitary) Bill seeks to promote safety regarding the movement of plant products for export and import and amend measures that prevent the introduction of foreign quarantine pests and diseases and regulate non-quarantine pests.