In October 2021, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, issued amendments to standing Regulations, which declared Cannabis sativa L, commonly known as ‘hemp’, as an agricultural product, in terms of the Plant Improvement Act No. 53 of 1976. The significance of the amendment was that, subject to acquiring a Hemp Permit from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (the Registrar of Plant Improvement), hemp may be imported, exported, cultivated and sold. Immediately following the publication of the amendments, the government announced the opening of the application process for obtaining the required permits and licences (Minister Thoko Didiza on opening of application process for HEMP permits | South African Government (www.gov.za).
In his recent address to parliament (in reply to a parliamentary question), the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, indicated that progress has been made in the development of the hemp and cannabis industry in South Africa. He further stated that, “to date, 83 cannabis licences, 4 manufacturing licences and 30 research permits have been issued by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA). The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) has issued 371 hemp permits. These licences and permits have enabled significant investment, employment creation, the application of technology, intellectual property development and exports to highly competitive global markets”.
There is consensus in industry that this is a sector with great potential in South African and that it presents ample economic opportunities for the country.
(SOURCE: A copy of the president’s reply is attached)