The South African province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has issued 664 licenses in October for the cultivation, storage, and transportation of industrial hemp, as reported by The South African. Under this initiative, hemp plants are permitted to contain up to 0.2% THC, marking a significant stride in the province’s foray into the hemp industry. The licenses were formally granted by the KZN Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) during the Cannabis Expo and Conference held within the province.
KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube hailed the expo and conference as a “new era for the cannabis sector in the province.” Notably, the DARD has allocated 47 million rand (approximately USD$2.4 million) for cannabis research, with an additional 10 million rand (around USD$526,000) designated to aid farmers in cannabis production and streamline hemp permit applications.
DARD MEC Super Zuma expressed satisfaction with the smooth process for hemp permit holders, ensuring that all associated costs were covered. Zuma highlighted the collaborative efforts underway, emphasizing their positive impact on combating poverty and unemployment in the region.
Permit recipient Sphelele Shezi shared her enthusiasm, revealing that she applied for a permit in July. Shezi plans to extract hemp oil for use in her company’s hairspray, expressing optimism about the permit’s potential to catalyze business growth and create job opportunities.
“This permit will allow my business to grow,” Shezi stated, “and I have a vision of owning a manufacturing plant which will open up job opportunities.”
As KwaZulu-Natal takes decisive steps towards harnessing the economic and agricultural potential of industrial hemp, the province looks set to become a significant player in the emerging hemp industry.