A Note From SKYF.CO
In the words of Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma “when people zol” they have a great time. Ok so that is not “strictly” what she said but at least we now have your attention. You will be happy to know that your SKYF.CO team has thrown its collective hat into the ring of the ongoing debate around the National Cannabis Master Plan. We have, as we like to do, added a fresh perspective to this debate which we are excited to share with you. So here goes.
On a positive note, we are delighted that Government has recognised the value and role that the cannabis industry is able to play when it comes to economic growth, poverty alleviation and job creation in this little piece of Africa which we are proud to call home.
What we are not delighted about, and to be clear our choice of adjective here does not come close to reflecting just how undelighted we are, is the delay in moving forward with the commercialisation of the cannabis industry. In the past we were conditioned to believe (and we accepted) that Government can only move slowly, very slowly. COVID has, however, shown this to be demonstrably false and what we now know is that Government can, when it wants to, in fact move with lightning speed. The proper context of the honourable minster’s statement “when people zol” is a chilling reminder of just how fast the law can change as when we went to bed on 26 March 2020, we could still buy cigarettes but when we woke up on 27 March 2020 the buying of cigarettes was illegal.
If Government can move that quickly when faced with adversity it must obviously follow (you would think) that when faced with the significant opportunity that our industry has to offer that they would act with at least the same amount of alacrity and allow people to “zol” freely for all of our benefit.
Most unfortunately this is not the case and it is in instances like this, and to quote Charles Dickens, that the saying “the law is an ass” is particularly appropriate. To be clear, the reference to “ass” in this saying is a reference to a donkey which has the unfortunate and unjustified reputation of being both stubborn and stupid. The saying is most often used to describe a law that is wrong or not good enough and which should be changed and hence the reason why it is appropriate in these circumstances.
There is no place and there is no reason for any law that is stubborn, rigid and stupid to remain on the statute books. As we see it any law preventing the responsible recreational use of cannabis falls into this category.
It is therefore incumbent on all of us to add our voices to the voices of the 300 people who participated in Government’s webinar on the Cannabis Master Plan so that we can drive the change to a fully-fledged recreational cannabis market. We have set out below some of the points raised by those attending the webinar which highlight why the law in this instance is an “ass”:
“With cannabis we now have an opportunity to show the world what we, as Africans, as South Africans, can do and simultaneously catapult ourselves to an economic powerhouse. The method in which we do that is to remove cannabis from the criminal, justice and penal system of South Africa. The issue of cannabis is not an issue for the police. It is ultimately an issue for the department of agriculture, social development and health. The police must not be involved with cannabis whatsoever where a person can be arrested for growing a thousand plants when they should be commended for growing those plants. We find this is unreasonable and unnecessary for our people to suffer that burden.”
“We should not be regulating growers at all, let them grow and grow as much as they want. The way to make cannabis into a taxable commodity is when you manufacture a value-added taxable product and follow the standard rules of good corporate practices. This is what we have done in KZN, we have integrated standard business practices to show that cannabis as a product and commodity can fitted into any corporate system as a cash crop, the product can be manufactured, tested and exported or supplied to the local market.”
“Subsistence farmers (including small farmers) are not growing for their own consumption but for the purpose of commerce to earn a living. A structure needs to be formulated to include these farmers so that every level within the industry can work with each other and develop this industry to world class level within the country.”
“This proposed master plan has failed to recognise the issue regarding the indigenous cannabis landraces and seeds. This is due to the narrative of this plan determining that cannabis as a whole is foreign. We have many world class cannabis landrace strains and should not be bringing ourselves down to that level of inferiority.”
On to some other highlights within the industry from the SKYF.CO Team:
Country Wide Road Trip:
What an adventure! We got to meet and see so many amazing people and places. We travelled from Johannesburg, through the Garden Route to Cape Town. A big thank you goes out to everyone we met along the way, to those who referred hidden gems to us and to everyone who followed our journey. You can read more about this adventure on page 38. We will be back on the road again soon visiting more of the Free State, Tshwane, then on to Limpopo, Mpumalanga and to KZN. We can’t wait to see you all.
The Pot Spot Cafe:
Congratulations on the opening of The Pot Spot Cafe! A great time was had by all! You can catch this on our social media pages soon.
The Ultimate Smoking Championship:
Congratulations on the successful first leg of the USC. All the hard work and dedication from the team paid off!
The Stoned Olympics:
The very first Stoned Olympics took place on the 1st of May 2021 seeing Alex’s vision come to light. We look forward to seeing many more to come.
The Greenside Sandton:
Congratulations on the opening of the new store. An amazing store with so much to offer! Look out on our social media pages for this as well.