It is not often we get to witness the emergence of a new industry with such great potential for growth. According to BDS Analytics, a cannabis research firm, worldwide legal cannabis spending will increase to $15 billion in 2019 and exceed $40 billion by 2024. The cultivation of medicinal cannabis has massive potential to grow our economy and create jobs and the City of Cape Town is open for business.
This morning, I had the opportunity to address the 2019 edition of the Cannabis Conference taking place in Cape Town.
The introduction of South Africa’s licencing framework for the cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis for scientific and clinical research purposes will open new investment opportunities for our region.
Foreign investment interest in this space is huge and can potentially bring significant income, jobs, and skills.
The City of Cape Town has already attracted significant investor interest based not only on its strength in agriculture, but also because Cape Town is fast becoming Africa’s leader in pharmaceutical research and development, as well as health and biotech.
Wesgro, the City’s investment promotion agency, has already hosted two previous engagements with stakeholders in this sector in which the City participated. I look forward to more fruitful interactions and partnerships with those who are ready to invest in Cape Town
I am proud of the City Council’s decision in May this year to free up around 10 hectares of land in Atlantis for production of medical cannabis. This was a pioneering decision, which set the foundation to unlock Cape Town’s potential in this untapped sector.
It is also a testament to the City’s commitment to partner with the private sector to explore new opportunities to grow the economy, attract investment and create much needed employment.
We are embracing new technology in order to overcome climatic challenges. Examples of these new technologies include controlled environment agriculture as well as precision agriculture, with intense greenhouse agriculture increasing by 43% between 2013 and 2017. Approximately 186 hectares of land are currently under tunnel infrastructure.
These technologies can easily be enhanced in order to meet requirements for the production of medicinal cannabis.
The City’s support for emerging industries in Cape Town, such as the Green Pharma industry, is a demonstration of our commitment to building an opportunity city.
My key focus over the last year has been on increasing investment so we can create more jobs and upskill more people. We are constantly on the lookout for ways to promote investment and create jobs. Therefore, this new industry is a perfect example of an opportunity ripe for the picking.
The Enterprise and Investment Department in my directorate is focused on creating an enabling environment for new investors and enterprises in the local economy in pursuit of inclusive economic growth and job creation.
Cape Town and the Western Cape can become the leader on the continent in the creation of jobs in this emerging sector. I will ensure that our City is on the forefront of creating the right environment for us all to benefit from the medicinal cannabis industry.
‘Medicinal cannabis’ refers to legal, high quality and standardised products made from crude or raw cannabis and is produced under very specific and regulated conditions.
There is a wealth of opportunities in this industry to take advantage of to create employment. Currently, an application can be made to the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), which controls the sale, possession and manufacture of any medicine or Scheduled substance in South Africa, to:
- Cultivate/grow and produce Cannabis and Cannabis resin;
- Extract and test Cannabis, Cannabis resin and/or cannabinoids;
- Manufacture a Cannabis-containing or cannabinoid-containing medicine;
- Import a Cannabis-containing medicine;
- Export a Cannabis-containing medicine;
- Distribute a Cannabis-containing medicine.