It is currently illegal to cultivate hemp in SA now as it is classified under the cannabis species reports the Business Insider.

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According to the Agricultural Research Council, hemp can be used to make more than 25,000 consumer products, from hemp apparel and accessories to houseware and cosmetics.

Trade and industry minister Rob Davies said the government recognises the potential of commercial value chains of cannabis and related products. It will consider the obstacles and opportunities for SA to become an active and innovative player in the growing hemp market.

The global industrial hemp market size is expected to reach $10.6bn by 2025, according to US-based market research and consulting company Grand View Research.

In a written reply in parliament to a question from IFP MP Narend Singh, agriculture, forestry & fisheries minister Senzeni Zokwana said that in terms of the law today the mandate for regulating hemp lies with the department of health under the Medicines and Related Substances Act and the department of justice & constitutional development under the Drugs and Drugs Trafficking Act. Zokwana said he is engaging with these departments to consider decriminalising and commercialising hemp farming.

“The department of agriculture, forestry & fisheries is leading the interdepartmental team that is developing a new regulatory framework for hemp.

“The team [includes] health, trade & industry, environmental affairs, justice & constitutional development as well as the SA Police Service. The team also includes the Agricultural Research Council and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research,” said Zokwana.

“Much progress had been made in terms of dealing with technical matters regarding production of hemp, research and technology development, commercial feasibility and other related matters. The department of agriculture, forestry & fisheries and the department of health are developing guidelines for regulating the cultivation and manufacturing of hemp and hemp products.”

The department of agriculture has already “formally requested the departments of health and justice & constitutional development to consider the necessary legislative amendments to allow for the commercialisation of hemp in SA”, the minister said.