South African farmers protest against the racist cannabis licensing process in the region

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Black South African agrarian organizations are not content to stand by while the country’s legal cannabis industry takes off on racist footing. Last week, the Black Farmers’ Association of South Africa and its allies protested in the capital, Pretoria, calling on the government agency regulating marijuana to prevent indigenous farmers from participating in the country’s burgeoning legal weed industry.

“We feel that the misalignment[ed] Granting these licenses to white companies is a crime against the politics of the black economy and the constitution of our country, ”said the BFASA in a press release announcing the April 22 protest.

Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment is a plan adopted by the country in 2003 to compensate for land stolen from black farmers during South African apartheid.

BFASA identifies the high cost of business license applications as a sign of the “radical struggle of the South African health products regulator (commonly referred to as SAHPRA)” against the transformation. This is the highest form of separation of people from rural areas [of] Which [the] majority [are] previously disadvantaged. ”

The group called for the closure of the agency with all those currently involved in the agency who are criminally charged, saying, “SAHPRA serves and entertains the white monopoly colonialists in our cannabis industry without thinking about improving and improving the less fortunate and previously disadvantaged allow the industry. ”

BFASA was founded in 2015 to advocate for black farmers in the face of racist government funding and support programs that the organization often skips to skip smallholder farmers in favor of larger agricultural businesses.

SAHPRA issued a “straightforward” statement denying the group’s allegations of racism.

“The procedure for obtaining a license from SAHPRA to grow cannabis for medicinal purposes is rigorous,” the agency said. “There has to be a standardization of cannabis varieties and it has to be ensured that plants can be grown under strict safety conditions.”

The personal use, possession and cultivation of cannabis was decriminalized in South Africa in 2018 by a ruling by the Constitutional Court.

The only commercial opportunities legalized by this decision and subsequent regulation published in 2020 are licenses to grow cannabis for export or for licensed laboratories.

Two weeks ago, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development released a master plan that set a target for regulating a commercial cannabis industry within the next two years.

As the Argentine cannabis publication El Planteo notes, the small nation of Lesotho (surrounded on all sides by South Africa) is the location of the first cannabis company to receive approval to export products to the EU.

A representative from MG Health told the Guardian, “We are in a rural area where there is little income. More business for the company will have an impact on the locals as well as we will also purchase some products and services from the villagers … Increasing the workforce means increasing the income of the villagers as well. “

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