What is Industrial Use?
Industrial Cannabis has long been a staple of industry the world over. Fuel to fibre, cereal to lip balm! Cannabis has often paved the way for a renewable resource in a finite world. Its use continues to be applied in international housing, food, nutrition, fibre, fuel, plastics, pharmaceutical, health, motor vehicle and skin care sectors. Locally we are yet to be fully exposed to the unrealised demand for Industrial Cannabis.
Legalise Cannabis for Trade in South Africa
South Africa needs to join the ever expanding list of countries with legal Cannabis markets. The whole country is looking for sustainable ways to rebuild our economy after this devastating lockdown. It is time to bring the reality of our existing Cannabis industry & its future (in all its complexity) to the attention of our President, our Minister of Finance and the rest of government, as a truly South African beacon of hope.
In South Africa this market remains largely untapped, while still maintaining a niche following due to an undeniable demand for socially responsible and sustainable products. Research into feasible strains and production methods has been attempted, with varying success, for some time. Permits for Industrial Cannabis trials are available and we watch with interest as various government bodies start to wake up about the potential of this crop despite the strict regulation of Cannabis in South Africa.
Industrial Cannabis Agro Industry
Already in the making. It is important to note here that the current proposals for THC threshold levels for Industrial Cannabis are flawed and will hamper the development of this industry in South Africa.
Industrial Uses (Hemp Pillar)
The three main categories of products made from the Cannabis plant are:
- Products not made for human or animal consumption (e.g.: clothes, concrete, batteries, plastic);
- Products made for human or animal consumption, but not for the purposes related to its psychoactive effects (e.g. hemp seed oil, hemp protein and other food stuff);
- Products made for human or animal consumption and for its psychoactive effects (e.g.: adult-use Cannabis, medical Cannabis, CBD products, pharmaceutical products etc.)
CBD and Cannabis Oil Trade and Medical Cannabis in South Africa
The only criteria that should guide policymaking is the intention/purpose of use. The effective non-application of medical and adult use Cannabis laws, to hemp, will ensure its cultivation can unfold under a regulatory framework similar to that of any other agricultural crop.
Several elements need to be considered, in particular:
a. Evidence-based THC threshold or other method to distinguish a “hemp-type” growing Cannabis plant from a “medical/adult use-type” plant;
b. Threshold or other method to distinguish a “hemptype” Cannabis product from a “medical/ adult usetype” product;
c. A policy enforcement avoiding barriers and limitations, and normalising hemp as regular agricultural crop with no penalties for “hot hemp” containing more than the anticipated levels of THC.
Hemp (Industrial Cannabis) vs Cannabis Plants
It is a common misconception that Hemp and Cannabis plants are two different species.
This is not true, they are two different types of Cannabis, a type of flowering plant in the Cannabaceae family. In order to keep Cannabis containing THC illegal, prohibitionists came up with an arbitrary figure linked to the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content of the two types of plant. This is set by international conventions (see Section 2.4 of our Cannabis Manifesto) and by individual countries, usually at 0.3% or less THC content by dry weight. This subject is discussed at greater length in Section 5.4 of our Manifesto.
If regulated in a fair and equitable way, Cannabis can help every South African, rather than select investors with capital. Entrepreneurship, in the true sense of the term, can become a reality for many South Africans already producing Cannabis, particularly in our small towns and rural areas.
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