Legalised cannabis cultivation could offer green jobs galore


A recent report by Prohibition Partners forecasts that Africa could benefit by US$7 billion per year by 2023 if cannabis cultivation is legalised. As South Africa, especially the Eastern Cape (EC) and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) have an ideal climate for the cultivation of cannabis, many farmers in poor rural communities would benefit from licenced cannabis cultivation.

The World Health Organisation estimates that South Africa is the third largest producer in the world of cannabis, which provides employment fort some 1.2 million people made up of 900,000 cannabis farmers and 350,000 traditional healers who grow their own cannabis for medical reasons.

The African Cannabis Report, the first detailed report on the legal cannabis industry in Africa, found that the continent could reap significant rewards through the legalisation of cannabis as it would improve a country’s balance of payments, support the local currency so reducing imported inflation, and create many thousands of jobs.

Daragh Anglim, Managing Director at Prohibition Partners, said legal cannabis cultivation could be a game changer for the continent.

“It is currently estimated that more than 38 000 tonnes of illegal cannabis is produced across Africa each year, with a market value of billions of dollars. This demonstrates the clear potential for an economic boom for African countries that actively seek to legalise and regulate their cannabis market,” he added.

Assuming there is full legalisation and regulation of the cannabis industry, South Africa and Nigeria potentially represent the region’s two largest value medicinal cannabis markets going forward. Export cannabis could be worth US$667m or some R9.7 billion or around a tenth of the foreign exchange generated by gold mining to South Africa and US$75m to Nigeria by 2023.

With marijuana legal for recreational use in 10 US states and given the green light for medicinal use in another 34, jobs have experienced a noticeable boost. A new report from cannabis website Leafly states that an estimated 211, 00 people are now employed in the US industry full time, while close to 100 000 other jobs indirectly depend on it. To put that into perspective, the US has 69 000 brewing workers and 52 000 have coal mining jobs.

The research states that the US added 64 389 full time jobs in the marijuana sector in 2018, a 44% increase on 2017, making it the fastest growing job sector in the US in 2018.

Now that most states have legalized the use of marijuana in some form, aging Americans are increasingly turning to pot, but they are consuming CBD, the medical component, rather than THC, which is the cannabis component that makes you high.

As a recent Gallup poll found that only 3% of American seniors actually smoke marijuana. The rest consume it in cookies and/or pills or they use cannabis-infused creams and oils they can apply to their skin as there is an increasing body of evidence supports the fact that cannabis can treat the maladies of old age, from sleeplessness to arthritis.

According to researchers with Brightfield Group, the US CBD market is expected to explode from $619 million in 2018, to $5.9 billion this year and within two years it will mushroom to a $22 billion industry as there are ten thousand Americans turning sixty-five every day and the benefits of CBD are spreading like wild fire.



This contribution to Finance Friday was made by

Helmo Preuss

Forecaster Ecosa cc

+27 79 773 2458

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