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A New Dawn for Weed in South Africa

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Government wants to have concept plans for the development of the hemp and dagga sector in place by October, especially considering the potential the industry could hold for job creation, says Busani Ngcaweni, the head of policy and research in the presidency.

This is one of the economic sectors in which concept master plans are being developed because there is enough evidence to show that jobs will be created, especially in rural areas, said Ngcaweni at a conference in Sandton last week.

The plans are to be modelled on the success of government’s development and support programme for the vehicle manufacturing sector since 1995, which is regarded as one of the most important interventions in industrial policy.

The plans for various economic sectors, including textiles, sugar and downstream activities in the steel industry, will form part of government’s second investment summit, which is scheduled to be held in November, said Ngcaweni.

According to international experts, South Africa’s dagga industry could be worth more than $7.1 billion (R107 billion) if legislation to legalise one of the continent’s biggest markets is passed.

Prohibition Partners, which works to unlock community and commercial opportunities in the cannabis industry based on reliable data and research, said South Africa and Nigeria had the potential to become the continent’s highest value markets, worth $667 million and $75 million, respectively, by 2023 if the use of dagga is permitted for medicinal and recreational use.

This information is contained in the African Cannabis Report, the first detailed report on the legal dagga industry in Africa. The report also covers the benefits for the continent should the legalisation be passed.

According to the report, which was published in March, five of the world’s 30 biggest dagga-consuming countries (in the age group of 15 to 64) are in Africa. These are Nigeria, Zambia, Egypt, Madagascar and Sierra Leone.

The report indicates that the World Health Organisation estimates that South Africa is the third-largest dagga producer in the world, with an estimated 900 000 dagga farmers. This is above and beyond the estimated 350 000 traditional healers who cultivate dagga.

South Africa is also considered to be a country that has a suitable climate for the cultivation of dagga, especially in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

According to landbou.com, the Agricultural Research Council is ready to cultivate its hemp cultivars commercially.

Trial runs worked best in the Eastern Cape and in the Western Cape.

The guidelines for the commercialisation of hemp in South Africa need to be approved by government, and public consultation must also take place, landbou.com reported last week.

Hemp and marijuana are varieties of the species Cannabis sativa.

Marijuana refers to the plant that is cultivated for its high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the psychoactive effect of dagga. Hemp refers to a plant that is typically cultivated for industrial use, such as oils, fibre or clothes. Hemp has a very low THC concentration.

Prohibition Partners refers to a report from the UN, which estimates that South Africa’s annual dagga production is at about 2 500 tons and can still increase. The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority recently approved the first licence for the cultivation of medicinal dagga.

In September, the Constitutional Court legalised the growing of dagga for private use by adults in private settings.

According to Mzukisi Qobo, an associate professor at Wits Business School, and Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist at the Agricultural Business Chamber of SA, many African governments have relaxed regulations and laws governing the use of dagga to help stimulate rural development and create jobs.

In an article that originally appeared in Daily Maverick in July, they write that, in 2017, Lesotho became the first African country in which dagga was decriminalised. The first production licence was granted last year.

Read: Weed will save us: Local research project looks into uses of ‘very versatile’plant

However, Qobo and Sihlobo say that licensing in many African countries is a long and costly process.

In Lesotho, a licence costs close to R500 000 and must be renewed yearly at a cost of R130 000.

In South Africa, licensing fees will have to be lower to ensure economic inclusivity.

Prohibition Partners said data from New Frontier estimated that South Africa had a $1.2 billion market for cannabis and related products.

In addition to low-income consumers, there is also potential at the upper end of the market for edibles (such as cannabis pizza), dagga-infused drinks, essential oils, medicinal cannabis and textiles.

The organisers of the fourth cannabis expo in South Africa, which will be held in Sandton in November, said that, as a result of the growing dagga industry in Africa, there is increasing interest among international cannabis companies to exploit opportunities on the continent.

In Lesotho, the growth prospects after legalisation have already led to an influx of foreign investment, according to Prohibition Partners.

Credit Goes to city press news24.

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SAHPRA Issues Africa’s First License to Conduct Psilocybin Clinical Trials; Aim is to Treat Depressed Women who are HIV Positive

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Cannsun receives SAHPRA go ahead for psilocybin clinical trials

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has issued Africa’s first license allowing psilocybin to be used in clinical trials. Mutinational cannabis company Cannsun, which has a major grow-op at Atlantis in the Western Cape, said in a press release on 14 April 2022 that SAHPRA had given it the go-ahead “to commence an in-human women’s specific clinical trial to evaluate a safety and efficacy of psilocybin in 30 HIV positive study participants suffering from Major Depressive Disorder.”

 

Cannsun describes itself as a “bio-pharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing new medicines to optimize human potential with operations in South Africa and Thailand.”

 

Donaghue Woodman, Head of Research and Development at Cannsun Group PLC says:
“It is vitally important to have a deeper understanding of how woman respond to medical treatment for major depression versus men in order to develop psychedelic therapies and treatment protocols for women that have clinically significant outcomes that are safe and effective. This research to be conducted in South Africa follows a globally renewed interest in psychedelics aimed at exploring the treatment benefits of these previously misunderstood compounds.” 


Mental health disorders are one of the leading causes of disease burden in the world, according to a 30-year global systematic analysis published in Lancet Psychiatry. As MDD is one of the more prevalent co-morbidities in HIV and in women, where an estimated 7.7 million people are living with HIV in South Africa, the trial will to be conducted in an all-female HIV positive group. Women have previously been underrepresented in clinical trials related to mental health, trials where women were included, the published results were not gender specific.

 

SA Trials to be done by TASK

Cannsun Medicinals has contracted TASK, a South African-based clinical research institute to conduct the clinical trial.

TASK is a multinational clinical research institute which conducts clinical trials to determine the treatment effects of novelties in healthcare and offers services in conducting complex clinical trials in a wide variety of therapeutic areas.

Established in 2005, TASK is a renowned research specialist organization in infectious diseases, most notably in tuberculosis, COVID-19 treatment and vaccines and has been published and mentioned in several leading journals, notably in the New England Journal of Medicine. Similarly, TASK’s founder Professor Andreas Diacon has been celebrated by the Bill and Melinda Gate’s Foundation as a ‘hero in the field’ for his contribution to TB drug development.

“The TASK team are proud to have been selected by the Cannsun group to conduct this ground-breaking trial, first in our unique African population. We look forward to making progress in the treatment of mental health disorders and to the influence this trial may have in generating further investment in psychiatric research with innovative compounds.” Duncan McDonald, Head of Business Development at TASK.

 

Stellenbosch University closely involved in upcoming psilocybin clinical trials

TASK will work in conjunction with Soraya Seedat, a distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Executive Head of the Department of Psychiatry at Stellenbosch University. She has more than 20 years of clinical, epidemiological and basic neuroscience research experience as a psychiatrist.

She has also been the recipient of several awards including the World Federation of the Society of Biological Psychiatry Fellowship, the Lundbeck Institute Fellowship Award in Psychiatry, an MRC mid-career award, research fellowship from the University of California San Diego, the Anxiety Disorders Association of America Career Development Award, the Humboldt Research Award in memory of Neville Alexander, the Chancellor’s Award for Research from Stellenbosch University and an MRC Gold Merit Award.

“Mental health is a global pursuit, and we are hopeful this research may bring advancement of treatment of depression and anxiety illness. Our research will be conducted in South Africa where women’s heath in a clinical setting is underrepresented, 25% of the adult women population between ages 15-49 are HIV positive. Our R&D team at Cannsun aim to further advance medical treatments in South Africa utilizing emerging medicines.” David Parry, Chief Executive Officer at Cannsun Group PLC.

The post SAHPRA Issues Africa’s First License to Conduct Psilocybin Clinical Trials; Aim is to Treat Depressed Women who are HIV Positive appeared first on Cannabiz Africa.

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Zimbabwe Tobacco Board Tells 145,000 Tobacco Farmers: “A Quarter of Your Income Must Come from Hemp by 2025”

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Meanwell Gudu says tobacco demand declining, farmers must look to hemp

Anticipated demand for cannabis is projected to continue to grow while tobacco output globally may decline 15% by 2030, according to Meanwell Gudu, the CEO of Zimbabwe’s Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board.

“One of the alternative crops we are looking at is industrial hemp,” he told Bloomberg’s Ray Ndlovu by phone on 4 April 2022

The board has 145,000 registered tobacco growers, who started selling 2022’s crop at auctions last week. Farmers will be encouraged to plant cannabis so that a quarter of their income comes from the plant by 2025, Gudu said. 

“It’s a crop that requires attention to detail, just like tobacco, and we are confident that they will have the skills,” he said. “We want to be part of the entire industrial hemp chain.”

The board will look for export markets for industrial hemp including in China, the EU and will also seek to develop a local market, Gudu said.

Zimbabwe first major hemp export deal – 30 tons to Switzerland

The country exported 30 tonnes of industrial hemp to Switzerland in 2022, its first foray into the European market, said Zorodzai Maroveke, the founder of the Zimbabwe Industrial Hemp Trust. The group is partnering with the tobacco board to facilitate the “smooth transition” to cannabis for commercial purposes. 

Tobacco earned the country $819m in revenue in 2021. Farming cannabis for medical use in Zimbabwe was first legalised in 2019.

“Switzerland is the first gateway into Europe,” Maroveke said in an interview in Harare. 

Another 20 tonnes of industrial hemp are set to be exported to the European nation, she said. 

The post Zimbabwe Tobacco Board Tells 145 000 Tobacco Farmers: “A Quarter of Your Income Must Come from Hemp by 2025” appeared first on Cannabiz Africa.

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Amsterdam Trying To Halt Tourists From Coffee Shops

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The world famous Dutch capital city Amsterdam is looking to ban tourists from being able to frequent its famous coffee shops. For decades cannabis enthusiasts have been able to light up in Amsterdam with their chilled culture and relaxed drug policies – however some local politicians are looking to end the fun.

The changes, presented by mayor Femke Halsema, would require that cannabis would only be made available for purchase from the cities 166 licensed coffee shops by residents only. This policy would align with many of the other cities across the Netherlands including Rotterdam and Maastricht. Conservatives feel many of the cities problems are caused by the current cannabis market including illicit drugs and crime. Residents have complained about loud noise, littering and raucous behavior from tourists.

A ban would mean the loss of thousands of jobs and revenue for the city and definitely be a big change for a city that made cannabis a big part of its identity and made it a huge tourist destination. As this is not the first time the policy has been under attack its very much a wait and see type thing to find out what happens. Stay tuned….

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