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South-Africa's Cannabis Law Reforms Leaving Rural Growers Behind

Cannabis growers in South-Africa's Eastern Cape have been generating a living from cultivating the plant for generations however the government does not seem to have even taken them into consideration with cannabis law reforms as these communities are being left out of the green economic boom.

"Government needs to change its approach and come up with laws that are grower-friendly and citizen-friendly. Right now, the people who have licences are rich people. The government should be assisting the communities to grow so that they can compete with the world market. Here is a commodity growing so easily and organically. We are not jealous, the rich should also come in, but please accommodate the poorest of the poor," says cannabis activist Mr Greek Zueni from the Pondoland region in Eastern Cape famous for it's field of cannabis resembling corn fields.

"Germany is the single largest market in Europe for medicinal cannabis distribution. The opportunities for distribution in Europe are very big. In addition to that, across borders, in Africa alone, there is a proposition that we have consolidated across a number of different countries all the way from Kenya, to Zambia to Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, as well as in Zimbabwe," says Mr Herschel Massdorp of the Labat Africa Group which is listed on the JSE that has recently acquired the Eastern Cape-based Sweetwater Aquaponics.

London-based industry analysts Prohibition Partners estimates Africa's top producers by 2023 will be Nigeria with USD3.7bn, South Africa USD1.7bn, Morocco USD900m, Lesotho USD90m and Zimbabwe USD80m. So why is the Namibian government still turning a blind eye and ignoring this opportunity to empower it's citizens?

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