The Journey of Starting a Cannabis Business in South Africa

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The Journey of Starting a Cannabis Business in South Africa

On Tuesday 18 September 2018 at 10h00 the Constitutional Court handed down judgment in this application for the confirmation of an order of constitutional invalidity made by the High Court of South Africa, Western Cape Division, Cape Town (High Court) which declared legislation criminalizing the use, possession, purchase and cultivation of cannabis unconstitutional.

And so the business began… well not really.

Marijuana SA was founded early in 2015. In a haze fulled room, and among friends, the realization hit. Cannabis would be legal soon. On this epiphany the planning and development began. In a slightly hasty decision almost every cannabis domain name, that was still available, was snapped up. There were a lot of good domain names back then, but now, there are almost none left. Shortly after snapping up a basic looking, horrific in retrospect, website was up. Unfortunately, that’s where it stayed. For a while.

Around a year later the news and media was pushing this narrative that cannabis would “potentially be legal” or “something is happening here”. Just like that Marijuana SA was back in development, this time with a better plan. The site was to be completely redone. Created into a online store, where one day every stoner could procure their carefully curated bud. The site went up and development was slow, but it was looking way sexier than before.

Shit, the sites up but I have nothing to sell.

The site was looking good. But very bare, and it was hard to picture the complete system without some products. On the last dime, a local curiosity hut and head shop was poached for 1 of each sort of interesting product. Baring in mind the budget at this point was about R500.

Back at home, with a cell phone, some lamps from around the house, a mirror, a steady hand and a very irratated girlfriend. These Rizal’s were photographed like they were playboy bunny’s on a photo shoot. Everything was uploaded to the site. Qwerky, and slightly obscene descriptions were loaded for every single one. Finally the site, looked good. But damn. No Sales.

The troubles kicked in.

Before Marijuana SA even began getting of the ground, Facebook decided to kick where it hurts. All those photos and efforts on the page were gone. They kicked Marijuana SA off. For apparently promoting pharmaceuticals. Lol. They would do that wouldn’t they.

Next to join the ring was, PayFast, they also got wind of this scrupulous domain name in their system. And, in the most polite way, told Marijuana SA to get fucked.

There after came a rejection from pretty much every other payment portal available. Snapscan, zapper, paypal, and on.

Furthering these technical troubles there were also issues with the pigs…

Getting Raided at 00:30

One night after getting ready for bed. The peace was disrupted by a harsh banging noise, with much reluctance we had a look to see who was there. There were 8 police officers, with guns ready to kick the door down. They screamed and shouted to open the door. They we allowed in. NEVER DO THIS WITHOUT A WARRANT. But being young and naive they got in.

The police went a did a entire search of the apartment, all our bedrooms, photographed the plants and ask every possible question.

The business began to look up

From there on, we had fewer and fewer troubles we found a payment gateway, got 2 shipments of seeds and grow lights and the sales kicked off. The business is very rewarding ganja smokers are extremely fun clients to deal with and there are always hundreds of insane stories.

If you are thinking about starting a business in the cannabis industry, think carefully about it. Understand what you are doing and preferably do it with some experience behind you. If you need help. Reach out to Marijuana SA and we will be happy to help where possible.


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Comment (1)

  • Nobantu Reply

    Thank you so much for this article it was very informative, I’ve been researching because I want to go into the cannabis industry, I’ve been playing with this idea for the past two years or so researching and gaining as much knowledge as possible. I would appreciate it if anyone would reach out to assist me of I have questions or anything am going to be growing and making certain cannibas products.

    October 8, 2020 at 2:54 pm

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