Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions we get asked frequently. Use the contact form below to ask us anything else you want to know!

Private Cannabis Clubs

What is a Private Cannabis Club?

Simply put, a Private Cannabis Club is a group of people who come together out of their own free will, with the aim to cultivate Cannabis collectively. The Private Cannabis Club should operate on a non-profit basis and utilize a closed-loop supply system. Detailed records should be kept of all activities, to act as proof in the event of legal persecution.

Are Private Cannabis Clubs legal?

The legal status of Private Cannabis Clubs is still unknown. It’s important to realize that the South African government never had the opportunity to evaluate the concept of a Private Cannabis Club, until recently. The Haze Club’s ongoing legal battle should be followed closely, as it is the closest thing to a legislative opinion regarding Private Cannabis Clubs.

How do I find a Private Cannabis Club?

Private Cannabis Clubs are not encouraged to advertise, however, if you conduct your own online investigation, you’ll find plenty around.

The best way to find a Private Cannabis Club is to connect with as many people as possible in the Cannabis industry. You’ll find yourself invited to a Private Cannabis Club very quickly!

How do I start a Private Cannabis Club?

Starting a Private Cannabis Club can be very simple or very complicated, depending on what your vision is. In a simple form, you can group your Cannabis-enthusiast friends together and use the resources available to you as a group to start your own cultivation operation.

Alternatively, it can be as complicated as registering a business, buying land, investing in grow equipment, etc.

We wrote the Private Cannabis Club – Framework Manual for Set-up & Management to help you build your own Private Cannabis Club using our Private Cannabis Club Management System.

How does cultivation work in a Private Cannabis Club?

Depending on how the Club chooses to operate, cultivation of the members’ Cannabis can either be done by the Private Cannabis Club itself (should it have the resources needed), or the cultivation can be outsourced to satellite grower members and their own private cultivation space.

The Club should always aim to make use of its members first, should it have any labour requirements related to the management of the Club. All persons cultivating or working in the cultivation operation should be members of the Private Cannabis Club.

Medicinal Cannabis

What do I need to get a SAHPRA license for my Cannabis facility?

In order to get a medicinal cultivation license from SAHPRA, your cultivation and processing facilities need to comply to Good Manufacturing Practices. This standard dictates the requirements your facility must meet before being considered compliant to medicinal standards. It is a costly and timeous exercise and considered by many as a great hurdle and barrier to entry to the market. Unfortunately, the Medicines Act requires that these requirements be enforced and will remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Why must I get a license from SAHPRA to cultivate medicinal Cannabis?

SAHPRA stands for South African Health Products Association. It is SAHPRA’s job to approve and regulate any health products brought into the market. With THC and CBD scheduled as medicinal substances, this means that any Cannabis product used as medicine must be approved by SAHPRA. The same would go if you were to extract basil or tea tree oil for medicinal purpose.

What is GACP and GMP?

GACP stands for Good Agricultural and Collection Practices, while GMP stands for Good Manufacturing Practices. Both are medicinal standards for the pharmaceutical industry. GACP in the medicinal Cannabis industry governs the cultivation, harvest, primary processing and bulk packaging of Cannabis flower. GMP in the medicinal Cannabis industry governs the further processing, extraction, compounding and final product packaging of medicinal Cannabis products.

What different Cannabis licenses are there?

Cannabis licenses are issued in terms of section 22C(1)(b) of the Medicines and Related Substances Act 101 of 1965 (Medicines Act). Every license is issued based on the specific activities of the facility, which can include the cultivation, manufacture, extraction, testing, import, export and distribution of medicinal Cannabis.

Section 21 licenses are issued to patients and dispensaries and requires a consultation by a doctor who prescribes Cannabis. Such prescription then needs to be filled at a Section 21 dispensary.

What is a phytosanitary certificate?

A phytosanitary certificate is required when seed is imported and testifies that the seeds meet phytosanitary import requirements and is undertaken by an NPPO (National Plant Protection Organisation). Accordingly, a phytosanitary certificate may be required for the export of seed, based on the receiving country’s requirements.

Agricultural Hemp

How do I get a Hemp permit in South Africa?

Hemp permits are issued by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform & Rural Development. To apply for a Hemp permit, you need to complete the application form, pay the prescribed fee and comply to DALRRD’s requirements for Hemp permit holders. Contact us if you need help!

What do I need to get a Hemp permit in South Africa?

To be able to get a Hemp permit, you’d need a facility that is registered as a Premise with DALRRD. The premise must be suitably fenced off with appropriate signage and security controls. The person applying for the Hemp permit should preferably not have a criminal record.

How much does a Hemp permit cost in South Africa?

DALRRD updates their fees yearly – you can view the Hemp Permit Fee Schedule for 2022 – 2023 here.

What can I do with my Hemp permit?

When you apply for your Hemp permit, you must disclose the activities you wish to undertake in order for those activities to be included in your Hemp permit. Activities performed under Hemp permits include importing, cultivation, breeding, research, seed generation and sales, plant and propagation material sales, processing, product manufacturing and exporting.

Where can I get Hemp seed?

South Africa currently has no registered Hemp seed strains, so currently, Hemp seed is still imported from international breeders or agents. Try verified companies such as Hempoint, Tiger-One, andPhytonix, to name a few.

General Cannabis Compliance

How can I legally grow Cannabis in South Africa?

The legal side of the Cannabis industry is still fairly new.

According to the Privacy Judgement of 2018, an adult person may possess, cultivate and consume Cannabis in a private space, for the personal consumption of that adult person in private. This means that you’re allowed to grow Cannabis in a private space for your own consumption or of those in your household.

To grow Cannabis commercially, you’d need to grow medicinal Cannabis, seeing as its the only other legal avenue besides personal use. The cost of entry into this section of the industry is unfortunately very high, due to the fact that your facility would need to comply with Good Manufacturing Practices. Your facility then needs to be licensed with SAHPRA in order for you to be a registered medicinal producer.

Is THC legal?

According to medicinal schedules, THC is currently scheduled as a schedule 6 medicine, with the following exceptions:

(a) in raw plant material and processed products manufactured from such material, intended for industrial purposes and not for human or animal ingestion, containing 0.2% or less of THC;

(b) processed products made from Cannabis containing 0.001% or less of THC; or

(c)  when raw plant material is cultivated, possessed, and consumed by an adult, in private for personal consumption.

Any other cultivation of THC must be done through a registered and licensed Cannabis producer.

Is CBD legal?

CBD was declared as a Schedule 4 substance in terms of the Medicines Act, but certain preparations or products containing CBD are rendered as Schedule 0 (but not de-scheduled) substances, namely:

 

(a)  complementary medicines containing no more than 600mg of CBD per sales pack, providing a maximum daily dose of 20mg of CBD, and making a general health enhancement, health maintenance or relief of minor symptoms (low-risk) claim; or

(b)  processed products made from Cannabis raw plant material intended for ingestion containing 0.0075% or less of CBD where only the naturally occurring quantity of cannabinoids found in the source material are contained in the product.

Any other cultivation of CBD plants are to be done by a registered and licensed Cannabis producer.

How do I get access to Cannabis medicine?

For medicinal purposes, you can register as a Section 21 Medicinal Patient with SAHPRA (see the application form here), then find a doctor and dispensary to prescribe and dispense your medicine.

When will recreational Cannabis be legal?

The Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill is much overdue and will hopefully be enacted early in 2023. The Bill includes a clause that speaks to the formation of a commercial recreational Cannabis industry. However, the Bill only allows for other legislation to be changed (i.e., the Drug & Drug Trafficking Act), meaning a legal commercial recreational industry is still a few years away.

Quality Management Systems

What is a Quality Management System?

A quality management system (QMS) is a formalized document-based system that records processes, procedures and responsibilities to meet the company’s quality policies and objectives. It helps to facilitate improvement and compliance to regulatory requirements on a consistent and continuous basis.

What does HACCP mean?

HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point. Simply put, all processes in the production cycle are evaluated using a Hazard Analysis methodology. The analysis assists to identify any areas which should be managed as Critical Control Points – specific processes in the production cycle, where conditions, activities or the environment must be managed in order to prevent or reduce possible contamination.

What is risk management?

Risk management refers to the careful identification, analysis and treatment of possible or existing factors that could impact on the business’s operations or finished products. It is a cornerstone of ISO9001 systems and is of the utmost importance in the medicinal Cannabis industry.

What QMS do I need for my Cannabis/Hemp facility?

The medicinal Cannabis industry requires compliance to medical standards such as Good Agricultural Collection Practice and Good Manufacturing Practices.

Agricultural Hemp does not require compliance to a specific standard, but is highly recommended to manage good practices and quality control. Therefore, GlobalG.A.P. Combinable Crops – Hemp is recommended.

Can I use QMS templates from another facility?

It  is never recommended to use templates from another facility, even if their activities are identical to those of your facility. QMS documentation is of the highest importance to a facility’s operation and maintaining quality protocols and procedures. The documentation must be designed in close collaboration to department managers in the facility, according to the specifications and activities of the facility.

Food-producing Farms

What does “safe food” mean?

Safe food simply means food that has been grown and processed in a safe manner. Food Safety Management Systems such as ISO 22000 control operations and processes using a HACCP approach to ensure that any possible contamination is eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level.

What is a food safety hazard?

A food safety hazard refers to any hazard that could lead to possible contamination of food. For example, unhygienic workers, dirty equipment, pests and plant diseases are all food safety hazards.

Can my farm and produce be certified as organic?

Yes, there are a few ways in which your farm and/or produce can be certified as organic. You can join SAOSO, PGS South Africa or get third-party certification from a recognised control body.

What standards does food have to comply to?

The following national departments are the main parties responsible for food legislation:

  1. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)
  2. The National Department of Health
  3. The Department of Trade and Industry

Between these three departments, various food production safety standards are maintained, including agricultural production or crops and animals, harvesting and packaging, and testing and labelling requirements.

Why do I need a Food Safety Management System?

A Food Safety Management System that is implemented and frequently updated, testifies that the crops produced are done so in a hygienic and healthy manner. It assists food producers to reduce the occurrence of disease or chemical residue exceeding local limits.

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