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South Africa’s Soweto Holds First Cannabis Festival

A three-day cannabis festival was held in Soweto, Johannesburg’s predominantly Black neighborhood. It is the first such event. As South Africa progresses on its reform, organizers used this event to educate the public about positive aspects of the cannabis plant.

The timing if not historical significance is interesting—especially given Soweto’s role in helping to bring global attention to the injustices of apartheid during the 1970s and 1980s.

Both at the national and international levels, this is true.

South Africa is clearly driving the current legalization discussion on the continent. It has also opened up new product sources for Europe.

Domestically, legal cannabis reform, along with plans for economic development, are being implemented even while the governing party of the African National Congress, or ANC, is subject to much more severe criticisms over corruption and the overall efficacy of its policies. Successful transition to a regulated market for cannabis, especially one that fills in gaps in domestic healthcare and produces valuable export crop will be a shining feather within a very dark cap.

Currently legalization legislation is moving forward on a national level— although not without its critics who claim that the bill is not inclusive enough of domestic farmers. A lack of comprehensive protections for individuals who grow small quantities of cannabis for their personal use is another reason why it’s not known how complete the bill will be.

While political issues are important, the signs that a marijuana infrastructure is developing in the country before legislation can be passed show it. For example, three new cannabis pharmacies have also opened this month in and around Johannesburg—with an interesting telehealth twist. A chef and an online doctor share their expertise on cannabis-related food.

The country’s first clinical cannabis trial also kicked off formally about three weeks ago.

The bodies of 22 Cannabis farmers, executed in 1957, will be exhumed on Saturday and taken to their final resting places in touching, powerful testimony to the intensity of the conflict.

It’s the perfect time for a weekly cannabis fest to be launched in any major South African city.

Everybody should be educated about this plant.

Connection Between Europe and South African Cannabis

Even though there may be many differences, these developments in South Africa and other countries across Africa mirror reform happening right now in Europe.

Undoubtedly, one of their most striking similarities is that of home-grow. Many European countries are also grappling with this issue as South Africa. These are all related but not the only ones. There is also the question of what the future holds for the South African cannabis clubs. They were modeled after the Spanish. They have been allowed to continue to operate under the shadows of the law so far. The clubs will continue to be allowed to operate in gray areas of the law as the drug enters the system through medical channels, namely pharmacies. It will also be fascinating to observe how they survive and if it morphs.

It is evident that the health care system in Africa, as well as its medical infrastructure, differs from Europe. People must, wherever possible, grow their cannabis or purchase it. It is still unclear what regulations will apply to the purchase of cannabis. This situation also means that South Africa will have to recognize a fairly liberal interpretation of home grow if it is to succeed in its several goals for and around the development of this industry niche for the benefit of the country’s population.

However, despite their differences, many countries within Europe, even if they have different reasons for doing so, should adopt a similar approach. This conversation is happening in every country across Europe.

South African businesses are also looking to expand to the European market. This includes Germany and other European countries.

It is evident that entire continents are beginning to think about similar basic principles regarding reforms of the recreational and medical kind. This is an event that is worth celebrating, regardless of where it’s held.