What would you expect when combining a powerhouse team, including the formidable Sinenhlanhla Mnguni, and the knowledge and experience of driving regulatory framework for controlled substances? One can expect only great things to come from this for our growing industry!
FICA (Fair-trade Independent Cannabis Association) is an association formulated with the intent of growing the industry to corporate status. It seeks to include all role players within the cannabis industry value chain to define a definitive direction towards the identity of the industry in the country and thus creating a unified voice that will lead the change towards policy reform.
SKYF.CO Magazine recently had an interview with the Chairman of FICA Mr. Sinenhlanhla Mnguni who gave us some insight into the association’s goals and objectives and also his views on the state of the cannabis industry at present.
Mr Mnguni, an experienced attorney with extensive experience in lobbying the prohibition of smoking products, is a well-known public figure in the tobacco industry who’s featured in many national news interviews in the fight against the trade of illicit cigarettes and also against the ban of cigarette sales during the COVID-19 lockdown period.
The Cannabis Master Plan proposed by government has been met with dismay from many who are involved in the cannabis industry. In the viewpoint of Mr. Mnguni and FICA’s stance on the matter he stated that the Master Plan is very simplistic in nature with a lot of factors not given consideration by government as well as a lack of engagement with the South African public and key role players in the cannabis industry during its formulation. FICA seeks to work hand-in-hand with government in engaging with these role players to ensure a solid framework is formulated that not only works with people who want to be involved but also reforms the country’s standing in terms of internationally recognised growth and trade.
The potential to capitalise on the broad spectrum of cannabis and hemp utilisation, can no longer be second guessed. According to a study reported on by Business Day, global cannabis sales amounted to $21.3billion in 2020, a 48% increase on 2019. The report also forecasts a compound annual growth rate of 17.7% and annual earnings of some $55billion by 2026.
Africa simply cannot afford to risk losing a stake in this kind of exponential economic growth. The wheels of legal commercialisation have already begun turning and churning in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia and eSwatini, with Lesotho at the forefront of taking the legalisation initiative, mainly for exportation gains.
“In essence, it will affect all those who apply their trade in the cannabis industry value chain. The plan fails to consider a lot of aspects which were covered by other cannabis industries globally. So, there is a lot more room for engagement, and bodies such as FICA have a role to play in as far as advising government on what shape the cannabis industry in South Africa should take.”
Mnguni explained that FICA and its members are able to explore many avenues of engagement for role players with government through existing networks and using the tools at their disposal to drive the local cannabis industry regulation in such a way that will benefit most, if not all of those along the value chain.
The organisation’s strategies also include emphasis on socio-economic growth through skill transfer policies, growth in diverse representation by bridging the gap between licenced and non-licensed cultivators through thorough vetting processes and taking a strong stance against supporting black market trade.
“We, as an organisation, are pushing for the proper regulation of the cannabis industry value chain in South Africa,” he concluded.
SKYF.CO greatly looks forward to seeing the headway and growth to come within the industry!