Inclusive Development in the South African Cannabis Industry: Assessing the challenges.

This report contributes to debates about policy reform and industrial strategy for the South African cannabis industry. It focuses on two key challenges: first, achieving forms of industrial growth and international competitiveness that create decent work; second, building an inclusive cannabis economy in which traditional cannabis growers and small enterprises can participate. The report reviews international and domestic trends in cannabis markets and regulation, covering three broad segments: medical, industrial and adult-use cannabis. Drawing on interviews with industry stakeholders, it identifies near and long-term challenges facing the industry and develops recommendations for how policymakers might address them. The report does not seek to comprehensively cover all issues concerning the growth of legal cannabis markets. There are a range of important policy issues not addressed here, including fiscal policy, public health, and criminal justice. The economic development imperatives relating to growth, job creation and widening participation in the formal cannabis industry addressed in this report may in some instances be in tension with imperatives in these other policy areas, and careful consideration must be given to balancing them. The research in the report is exploratory in nature, and hampered by the limited publicly available data on the cannabis industry. All findings and policy recommendations should be taken as provisional, and a precursor to more rigorous research required for effective evidence-based policymaking.