South Africa’s marijuana industry – a missed opportunityOfficial Writer
Has the Ship Sailed?
The failure of the legislators to legalise marijuana in South Africa for sale for recreational use is nothing less than a massive missed opportunity. The fact is that business operates under the framework of the law. The constitutional ruling gave the government an opportunity to not only decriminalise marijuana but legalise the sale of marijuana for recreational use. in doing so the government would create the opportunity for a possible billion-rand industry overnight.
In 2020 the state of California produced 4.4$ billion (R63 Billion) in the sale of marijuana. This commercial industry did not even exist 4 years prior. This illustrates the massive possibility of growth and development a legal marijuana industry could show if legalised in South Africa.
When the government banned alcohol in South Africa during the period of 2020 and 2021 it’s not just the producers of alcohol that suffer. Transport companies, bottling companies, marketing companies, construction companies Bars, restaurants and so many more all rely on the alcohol industry. This is an indication of the benefit that a commercial marijuana industry could create for the South African economy. The commercial industry is going to need massive agricultural initiatives, large scale processing factories, retail stores, regulatory industries, marketing, and transport across provinces.
This fledgling industry is going to require massive amounts of labour creating significant employment and job creation. The United States has seen the creation of 340 000 jobs after the legalisation of medical and recreational marijuana and in 2016 the industry created 1$ billion (R14 Billion) in tax revenue for the state of California. In a country like South Africa which is dealing with a state deficit and widespread unemployment, the marijuana industry would create jobs and provide invaluable revenue for a struggling government.
Not all hope is lost. The constitutional verdict and the draft Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill is a massive win for the marijuana movement, but it is nonetheless a missed opportunity to take advantage of the full benefit of the commercial marijuana industry.