Dagga set to put job opportunity on a high as economic sector

Urgent work being finalised to create an enabling regulatory framework, says Ramaphosa

Nomazima Nkosi Senior reporter

A year after President Cyril Ramaphosa punted the cannabis industry as a pathway to create jobs, government is still looking at findings ways to regulate the plant for industrial use.

During his 2023 state of the nation address on Thursday, Ramaphosa punted hemp and cannabis, also known as dagga in SA, as a new sector that that could create 130,000 new jobs, mentioning areas of KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape as potential sector hubs.

This year, he's added Mpumalanga to the fray but there was no mention of the number of jobs that could be created.

"Last year we committed to unlocking investment in the hemp and cannabis sector. We are moving to create the enabling conditions for the sector to grow. The department of agriculture land reform and rural development and the department of health will address existing conditions for the cultivation of hemp and cannabis to allow outdoor cultivation and collection of harvests from traditional farmers," Ramaphosa said.

"This will unlock enormous economic energy in the rural areas of the country, especially in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. Urgent work is being finalised by government to create an enabling regulatory framework for a whole plant, all legitimate purposes approach for complimentary medicines, food, cosmetics, and industrial products, aligned to international conventions and best practices," he said.

Ramaphosa said the work would include the reprioritisation of departmental budgets for sector development and support for traditional, black farmers, and the alignment of police enforcement with regulatory reforms.

"A growing economy must also be an increasingly inclusive economy."

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