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Duncan Masiwa | 15 April 2023

The cannabis industry in Mzansi is growing, however, it is essential that young people are included in its development. Photo: Supplied/CCC

These are exciting times for cannabis in South Africa. And according to the chairperson of the Cannabis Community Council (CCC), it's essential that young people are given a chance to participate in the development of the industry.

The future of cannabis production in the Western Cape looks bright. And according to Quanita Booley, chairperson of the Cannabis Community Council (CCC), youth inclusion ensures innovation and creativity.

The Western Cape has been buzzing with conversations around cannabis production in the province and the rest of South Africa. On the back of the Western Cape department of agriculture recently unveiling its cannabis strategy for the province, Food For Mzansi caught up with Booley.

Duncan Masiwa: Tell us a bit about the Cannabis Community Council.

Quanita Booley: The Cannabis Community Council (CCC) is a non-profit organisation committed to promoting the interests of the cannabis industry in South Africa, with a focus on the inclusion of women, youth development, and marginalised communities.

The CCC is a pioneering, dynamic and fresh platform where we focus on socio-economic development within the cannabis industry.

We encourage transformation and inclusion for all. CCC believes that society should have free and equal access to trade and a participatory approach should be adopted in legislation change.

Has South Africa nailed youth inclusion in the cannabis space?

As the industry continues to grow, it is essential that young people are given the opportunity to participate in and contribute to its development. This will not only benefit the industry itself but also the wider society.

The inclusion of youth in the cannabis industry will help to promote innovation and creativity. Young people often bring fresh perspectives and new ideas to the table, which can help to drive the industry forward and keep it relevant. This can lead to the development of new products, technologies, and business models, which can benefit both the industry and its customers.

The inclusion of youth in the cannabis industry can help to ensure the industry’s long-term sustainability. Young people are the future of the industry, and it is essential that they are given the tools, skills, and opportunities they need to succeed. This will help to ensure that the industry continues to grow and thrive for years to come.

When we make sure the beneficiaries of the developing cannabis industry are included at this early stage, we are able to alter the currently stigmatised perception of what this plant is to our society.

Are we finally moving in the right direction with Western Cape’s new cannabis strategy?

I was lucky enough to have been a stakeholder in the CanPlan, CCC representing civil society in the group of stakeholders who took part in the sessions. The process felt inclusive and our opinions were taken into consideration. The group was diverse and well-informed, most were industry experts and professionals.

I do believe that we are moving in the right direction, it outlines the industry’s strengths and challenges clearly. We now have an unbiased suggestion for the way forward in Western Cape and we hope that the implementation of this plan is not delayed.

Do the strategies contained in the CanPlan excite you?

The CCC has been mentioned in the plan as the recommended industry stakeholder coordinator. There are many opinions and proposed plans for implementation, but our government has not yet been able to arrange all the stakeholders which make up civil society, the private sector and government bodies.

When we are able to manage stakeholders and match their strengths to ensure an outcome that is beneficial for all of South Africa’s cannabis interests, we have a better chance of speeding up the policy-making process.

What does the future of the industry in the Western Cape look like?

Western Cape has a great advantage with tourism being so strong in the region, opportunities are great for cannabis tourism and all industries that branch from tourism, in general, can find ways to include themselves in these newfound opportunities.

We have beautiful landscapes that are ideal for growing cannabis.

Western Cape will have plans in place that include the development of its people, we will have skilled professionals who understand the plant. WC will be the “Mother of Cannabis Industry” nurturing a healthy relationship with this previously demonised plant in aid of remedying the socio-economic issues the province currently faces.

Recreational cannabis will be accessible to locals and tourists through creative exchanges until we see the liberation of cannabis through full legalisation. A legal industry could also provide a new source of revenue for the Western Cape government.

With this new source of income, we will be able to focus on the implementation of the solutions in and around the WC, both in the farming sector and outside of it, we are not limited.

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


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