HENNOPS, South Africa (AP) — Stacks of bright green cannabis plants, freshly harvested from nearby hothouses, are expertly sorted on a lab table by workers wearing hygienic gloves and caps who snip the leaves and buds and put them in bins for further processing.
Druid’s Garden in Hennops, about 20 miles north of Johannesburg, is a licensed farm which conducts research, legally produces cannabis and other traditional medicinal products for sale in South Africa and international markets.
The farm’s founder, Cian McClelland, said one of his aims is to help smaller-scale, black farmers enter South Africa’s potentially lucrative marijuana market.
“One of the most important aspects of this industry is for us to find ways to uplift small farmers, particularly black rural farmers,” said McClelland. “We would like to play an active role around the country, in partnership with the Heritage Trust, to help … provide access to these markets.”
McClelland knows that rural black farmers, who have grown marijuana traditionally but illegally, are now fighting to benefit from the country’s relaxation of cannabis laws.
Following the Constitutional Court’s decision in 2018 to decriminalize the personal use and cultivation of cannabis, South Africa’s cannabis industry could be worth more than