Fields of Green for All (FGA), a South African non-profit organisation, this week said its #CannabisCanHelpSA campaign was highlighting the potential economic benefits of a regulated cannabis industry

FGA believes the industry could help strengthen the South African economy following the knock it had received from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Massive economic benefits will never be realised unless, taking into account the success and organisation of the current cannabis industry in South Africa, fair and sustainable regulations are crafted by those entrusted with changing the law,” said FGA founder and director, Myrtle Clarke.

FGA’s petition on its website calling for the plant to be legally cultivated, traded and used is close to the 42 000 signatures needed by 30 June, after which it will be submitted to parliament.

The organisation has been embroiled in a legal dispute since 2010 over the use, cultivation and trade of cannabis

Clarke said FGA’s progress in its campaign to legalise the plant was due to the activism of those in the South African cannabis industry.

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“We would still be in the darkest days of cannabis prohibition if it wasn’t for the everyday activism of each and every member of the South African cannabis community, existing and emerging businesses within the cannabis economy, and our extensive list of stakeholders who support our work.”

In May 2019, Prohibition Partners released The African Cannabis Report, in which it found South Africa’s cannabis industry could be worth about R27 billion by 2023.

The report also quoted the World Health Organisation estimates, which found South Africa to be the third largest cannabis producer globally. According to Prohibition Partners, South Africa had “an estimated 900 000 cannabis farmers, not to mention the 350 000 traditional healers already growing”.

“The unregulated market is organised and hundreds of years old. The rural fields stretch for kilometres in every direction and if this unregulated market were legitimised, South Africa would become a powerhouse green economy with one of the most conducive growing climates in the world,” according to the report.

In September 2018, the South African constitutional court decriminalised cultivation of the plant as long as it was for personal use. It remains illegal to use cannabis in public or to supply or sell it.

FGA described the ruling as a leap of progress.

Author: ANA Newswire