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News > South Africa

South Africa: Expo Highlights Potential of Cannabis Industry

  • Energy drinks are seen at the four-day Cannabis expo in Pretoria, South Africa, Dec. 13, 2018.

    Energy drinks are seen at the four-day Cannabis expo in Pretoria, South Africa, Dec. 13, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 14 December 2018

The first commercial exhibition of 'dagga' shows different goods available to entrepreneurs and consumers.

Africa’s first ever cannabis exposition opened Thursday in Pretoria, South Africa. However, the event didn't display a single plant.

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Although South Africa’s Constitutional Court decriminalized the private use and cultivation of cannabis in September, current laws do not legalize its trade or distribution.

South Africa 's Parliament has up to 2020 to amend cannabis-related laws. Accordingly, for the moment, the public display of ‘dagga’, which is the local term used for the Cannabis plant, remains legally dubious. 

Nevertheless, the Expo managed to present the nascent industry and its state-of-the-art products and technologies.

Potential entrepreneurs are not waiting. The local unit of Canada's Canopy Growth is among the early applicants.

"I don't think most people realize just how big the cannabis industry is in Africa already," said the Cannabis Expo's co-founder Silas Howarth.

International companies are seeking licenses to produce cannabis for export while waiting for the legalization of the plant's domestic uses. 

"I think in two years we'll definitely have a license for the use of medicinal cannabis," said Gerhard Naude, the founder of healthcare company Go Life International.

World's legal marijuana industry could rake in US$146.4 billion by 2025, according to City Press, which also reported that the Cannabis Expo expects about 20,000 visitors.

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