In September 2018, South Africa’s Constitutional Court held that “the use, possession and cultivation” of cannabis in “private dwellings” was not illegal. Parliament was given a period of 24 months by the court, from the date of the judgment to bring the ruling in line with South African laws, with a new bill expected to be released soon.
Although we do not know the exact figure, there is a large number of people in South Africa who solely depend on income from cannabis, many of which are small-scale cannabis farmers. For example, in Pondoland region of the Eastern Cape, growing and selling dagga has become the only source of income for many villages in that area.
The pro-marijuana consultancy Prohibition Partners project that by 2023, the South African domestic market for cannabis and related products excluding consumer CBD products, will be worth approximately R27 billion.
However, one can only wonder who would be the real beneficiaries of the domestic market for cannabis in light of this ruling and whether small-scale cannabis farmers would be pushed aside or are there systems that Parliament intends to implement to ensure the development, upskill and growth of cannabis small-scale farmers?