Eastern Cape cannabis industry gets R4.5m in effort to create jobs. Cannabis college and economic boom are high on the agenda. The Department of Rural Development and Agriculture Budget and Policy have announced plans to support grass roots development.
It is no secret that the Eastern Cape has always been well known for two things… unemployment and ganja. So long have they been a a part of the province’s narrative that it’s difficult to tell which one of came first. The cash crop is however a significant or sole source of income for many rural growers. Estimates are as high as there currently being nearly 1 million growers in the existing Eastern Cape cannabis. Leaving many to wonder how to realistically integrate the informal producers with the impending formal market.
MEC Nonkqubela Pieters announced that:
“The department is working with the department of public works to transform Lusikisiki College into a cannabis college. In the 2021-22 financial year, the department allocated R4.5m to develop the cannabis industry.”
This follows ongoing moves by government, private sector and non-profit groups to bring forward practical legislation that is as inclusive as possible. There currently however remains a wide gap between what is and what isn’t. The hemp permits being dished out left right and center are sure to please the CBD and textile centric. Yet details are thin on how these million ganja growers are going to be developed or given the opportunity to sell their weed on the same shelf alongside those who are already getting a head start.
Eastern Cape Cannabis Industry Just The Tip
The responsibility is not all with government though. Both citizens and stakeholders have a responsibility to get involved. Cannabis traders and supporting industries can turn to the Cannabis Trade Association Africa to support their legal work that is opening up legal opportunities while lowering the barriers to entry for cannabis orientated businesses. While Fields of Green for All continues its activism to stop the arrests for cannabis related crimes.
It is certainly great to see progress on the Eastern Cape Cannabis front. But let’s not forget how small an investment R4.5m is. Particularly for a province that has far more to gain than lose.