“There are tons of opportunities for aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs and for people looking to work in the cannabis industry,” says Cannabis Expo Director Silas Howarth. All the puns aside, those who grow the little green plant are saying that business and financial opportunities abound.

The Constitutional Court decriminalized forms of personal cannabis use in South Africa in 2018, and the government proposed a draft National Cannabis Master Plan this year. The market is valued at a potential of 28 billion ren, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, with the possibility of about 10,000-25,000 jobs being created.

But the enthusiasm for this industry is not entirely new. Howarth says that when the expo kicked off in 2018, the team was surprised at how big and wide the industry already was and has grown exponentially from then on. This year’s Expo will bring more than 100 companies to Sandton from November 18-21, the equivalent in Cape Town is planned for March next year.

Howarth says the boom is not just happening in local business, but also with international investors and funders looking to support both small and commercial businesses or recruiting for jobs in the industry.

Exhibitors will be at the Cannabis Expo in Sandton from November 18-21. (Photo: Justin Lee Photography)

“Global cannabis companies have also recognized that southern Africa has the potential to provide the world with high quality cannabis and cannabis products at competitive prices, and are pouring millions of dollars into cannabis projects in South Africa,” he says.

For example, the international crowd-growing medical cannabis platform JuicyFields is currently expanding its presence in South Africa. It connects individual investors with licensed producers and distributors.

JuicyField’s Clifford Giesenow says, “The global cannabis business is huge, with millions of rand pouring into the country in South Africa as this seedling industry moves from dawn to sunrise.”

Duren Munsami, founder and CEO of NudleBox, a platform for jobs and training in the cannabis industry, says, “Most people until the last decade believed that working with marijuana was a seedy part-time job or a secret grower, but how? have changed since then. “

Munsami explains that popular positions in the industry include chief breeders who lead grow teams, budget tenders who support customers of medical or recreational cannabis dispensaries, and laboratory extractors who process and test hemp products in laboratories.

He says now is a good time to get involved. “Companies that establish their products and services during this period will benefit from gaining market share and position themselves as key players with significant growth over the next few years.”

Nick Verster, director and founder of NVJ Quality Products, says the industries surrounding hemp or cannabis include textiles, clothing, plumbing, furniture, and various medicines.

Cornel van der Watt (left) from White Lion Holdings at the 2019 Cannabis Convention (Photo: Justin Lee Photography)

He says there are great opportunities, but he’s more skeptical.

“This is one of the few industries that opens doors to so much opportunity, but again, overseas investors are pulling back into our industry because of the low confidence and high risk that both local individuals and regulations apply to us prevent from expanding as a whole. ”

Verster hopes for greater boundaries and understanding between different parts of the industry, such as the leisure and health sides. However, the future seems far-reaching for the variety of cannabis-related products. According to Munsami, the local cannabis market is expected to grow by a third between 2019 and 2023. DM168

This story first appeared in our weekly newspaper, Daily Maverick 168, which is available for R25 at Pick n Pay, Exclusive Books and airport bookstores. For your nearest specialist dealer, please click on here.