From cradle to grave, its raining billions in the African cannabis industry, thanks to the unwavering demand   

21 feb 2022: African cannabis industry is estimated to grow beyond a $7 billion valuation by 2023, thanks to ginormous demand and increasing legalisation across the continent. This is the opportunity for African countries to cash in on the green wonder.

According to Danie Nel, the Chief Executive Officer of South African pharmaceutical company Afriplex, there are massive opportunities across the entire cannabis value chain starting from the cultivation process , the production and supply of consumables to retail outlets, all the way to the secondary line of services such as consulting, regulatory, and legal. He said all of these combined would result in an exponential growth in the African cannabis industry.

So far, the lack of legalisation in the continent has been the primary hurdle hampering the extensive medicinal and recreational potential of Cannabis in Africa.Elsewhere in the world, cannabis-focused companies such as Curaleaf Holdings, Aphria and OraniGram to mention a few, generate millions of dollars in annual revenues and have market capitalisations running into billions of dollars.

The African countries not only have the right climate to grow the crop, in their favour but also huge export potentials and a tremendous consumption demand. So, the opportunities are indeed endless. However, governments across the region have been very conservative and cautious thus restricting the cultivation and consumption of cannabis due to moral sentiments and the understandable likelihood of its abuse. Mr Nel pointed out that things are now changing for the better, even though there is still a long way to go.

"I think we have a long way to go. Countries like South Africa and Lesotho have already approved the legal framework for cannabis; for medicinal use. I have to distinguish between medicinal use and recreational use. But there are more African countries coming along, putting the legal/regulatory frameworks in place to allow for the legal growing of cannabis, the processing thereof and the development of final products to retail," he said.

However, because most governments are currently just focused on licensing companies using cannabis for medicinal purposes, the recreational use of the product has thrived on the black market. Therefore, in order to fully harness the opportunities offered by both medical and recreational cannabis, there is need for the right regulatory frameworks to be put in place.

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