Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

What Would Legal Weed Look Like in South Africa?

It could be a huge boost to the economy. So why isn't it moving faster?

Last month Lesotho granted the South African company Verve Dynamics a license to grow marijuana for medicinal and scientific purposes making it the first legal weed grown on the continent.

Earlier this year, responding to an application by the Dagga Party to decriminalize marijuana in South Africa, the Western Cape High Court allowed for the possession, cultivation and use of marijuana at home, for private use. The complete legalization of the herb in South Africa is still underway, and at the moment there is no clear timeline or estimated date as when the herb will be legal for all to use.

It must further be noted that the judgement by the Western Cape High Court has up to two years to change the relevant laws before the possession and/or use of the herb is officially decriminalized.

Possession of marijuana in South Africa can earn you up to 15 years in prison, and dealing, up to 25 years.

But what will it mean for the country when weed is legalized?

Many believe it'll be a boon to the economy, leading to the creation of a vibrant new industry and the infrastructure that comes with it. Meanwhile, the country's law enforcement services will save billions of rands in enforcement funds.

This is the view of Vladislav Lakcevic, a UCT MBA student in his thesis, which looked at the economic implications of the legalization of marijuana in the country. Lakcevic believes the national cost of enforcement pertaining to drug-related crime was about R2.6-billion in 2013, and the value of drugs seized was about R117-million.

In a 2016 article published by the Mail & Guardian, Quintin van Kerken of the Anti-drug Alliance of South Africa calculates that, on average, for each drug dealer arrested, 36 users were arrested. He also concludes that about 60kg of the total 97kg of the drugs retrieved was dagga.

It's difficult to predict how marijuana legalization would directly impact the country's economy. The best possible way is to look at how the industry has grown in the USA, where herb is now legal in some states.

A study by the Arcview research group concludes that legal market sales are expected to surpass $22-billion by 2020 in the United States despite weed still being classified as an illegal drug on a federal level.

According to Forbes, retail sales of marijuana in the U.S. from 20 jurisdictions were $6.5 billion. That number is projected to grow to $30 billion by 2021.

Again, it's difficult to scale these numbers in a South African context, but it's clear legalization would boost the economy.

One other thing to consider is that medicinal marijuana would call for a more structured industry, thus going a long way to eliminate the black market. This will have an implication on prices of the product, which could benefit the consumer and affect the seller negatively, probably the same way Uber affected traditional metered taxi operators but benefited passengers.

"And given the fact that only scientists would be capable of growing this medicine it must therefore be a given that these plants will be standardised and the only way to do that would be to grow in a clinical environment," wrote Julian Stobbs, director of social activism non-profit organization Fields of Green for All, in an Op-Ed for News24.

From the above, it's clear that the legalization of marijuana would affect the economy positively, but the complications lie in the infrastructure that needs to be built to support the industry.

Photo credits: Deeds Art

Tems Is Just Doing Her Thang In New Music Video 'Crazy Tings'

The Nigerian songstress is hell bent on taking over your summer playlist and it's getting harder to resist.

It has been a fantastic year for Tems. The Nigerian singer, producer, and songwriter achieved a platinum record for eternal banger Essence, her collaboration with fellow Nigerian superstar Wizkid, an MTV EMA nomination for Best African Artist, a billion worldwide video views, and over 350 million audio streams. Not to mention featuring on Canadian rapper Drake's blowout album Certified Lover Boy, the singer has also sold out every show she's booked.

The release of Tems's sophomore EP If Orange Was a Place solidified her place amongst the greats and it was received with gusto by fans and international audiences. A month after the release the Afrobeats singer has graced fans with a sultry music video to go along with equally as tantalizing lead single Crazy Tings. Conceptualized by the multitalented Tems, and directed by UAX, the music video follows a sensual Tems as she sings about needing space from a lying partner.

International audiences continue to rave over the songstress, with Tems delivering an impressive US TV debut on late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! this month. Essence continues to top international charts. While becoming the official song of the summer, the track peaked on the Billboard 100 Top 10, becoming the most Shazamed song in the United States and was remixed by Canadian musical heavyweight Justin Bieber, becoming the first song written by Nigerian artists to hit No.1 on Urban Radio.

Tems has been producing consistent hits since her debut in September 2020, and a year later, the singer's immense talent is securing her reputation as a world-class superstar.

Check out Tem's music video for single 'Crazy Tings' below

Tems - Crazy Tings (Official Video) www.youtube.com

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Eswatini Is Trying To Dethrone Africa's Last Standing King

Africa's last absolute monarchy is being challenged by pro-democracy protests and an army of youths ready to fight back.