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SA could combat unemployment by boosting cannabis trade

There is potential for the country to enter the international cannabis trade.
The cannabis industry presents lucrative opportunities for local players but there are obstacles to overcome first. Picture: Shutterstock

Dope jobs are a real thing in Canada.

Bloomberg published an article at the beginning of this month that explores the job prospects in Canada’s growing cannabis industry, which was legalised for recreational use in October 2018. 

Bloomberg notes that “there has been a spike in postings for jobs at cannabis growers and retailers. And next year will see even more demand for labour as Canada expands the number of legal cannabis products to include edibles and concentrates”.

This is clear from Figure 1 below.

Source: Bloomberg, Indeed

Moreover, Cannabis At Work, a recruitment and training site, estimates that the Canadian cannabis industry could create roughly 125 000 jobs in the first year after legalisation. Some of the prospective jobs will most likely be in research and development positions, extraction and formulations, and retail.

Now, being a South African where the unemployment rate is 27%, I cannot say I don’t envy these job prospects. Fortunately, the ‘dope jobs’ discussion is gaining momentum here at home as well.

After publishing an essay about South Africa’s potential ‘dagga-belt’ on November 20, there has been growing interest from agricultural policymakers and senior practitioners who promise to be looking at this plant closely in the coming months so that we too can have the cannabis industry making a productive contribution to the South African economy.

At the moment, cannabis has been de-criminalised in South Africa for private use. While the users or consumers might be thrilled with this, my interest is more in the international trade space to boost the economic benefits for the country.

Any potential unintended consequences will need to be carefully researched and considered when legislation is developed to outline the conditions under which it can be commercially produced.

There should be some research on the possibilities of legalising marijuana production under controlled circumstances for international trade purposes.

This is an approach that could create jobs of a comparable scale to what we are witnessing in Canada. Globally, there is a long list of companies that are involved in this plant that South Africa could look to as a target market, in addition to other destinations where it has been legalised for medicinal purposes.

Wandile Sihlobo is an agricultural economist and the head of research at Agbiz.


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It could probably help the job market, but the core reason we have huge unemployment is not to do with a lack of opportunities or industries. It is a mix of our rigid labour legislation, aggressive unions, poor education system, bee requirements, red tape and legislation strangling small business etc etc etc.

We could have great employment prospects in many of our current industries if these things are just addressed, but it is becoming clear that what is happening is quite the opposite, they are getting worse every year.

Bottom line, whether you’re selling shoes or pot, employing people is going to be a battle.

Don’t forget the minimum wage. A lot of workers simply can’t generate the minimum value to justify the minimum wage, so businesses won’t hire them.

You’ve “captured it all and I agree 100%

AND you cannot get rid of staff that are lazy or non productive.

This industry, which will be poorly regulated will add to the burdens society has to carry. We can expect an increase in metal health problems resulting from vulnerable people unknowingly joining the herd of pot users.

Hmmm…one positive is more employment opportunities for social workers, rehab centres, and psychologists 😉

It’s similar to the high crime rate & ineffective policing in SA: benefiting thousands of jobs created in security services, palisade construction & steelworks enterprises, car watchers, pepper spray suppliers, you name it…

(…err, but I think the potential GDP loss to the SA economy as a whole is even bigger than the positive contribution the entire security industry…) 🙁

Alcoholics go to rehab. Hard drug (like heroine) users go to rehab.
Weed smokers go to Macdonalds.

Soon the world will be awash with weed so it would seem foppish to invest too much in the wacky backy when the growing people of the world primarily need to feed the munchies.
Long term staple crops will win over stoner crops.

Why is this even a question? Of course we should be jumping on this bandwagon! We were discussing this very topic at home the other day. There are vast sums to be made and S. Africa’s climate is ideal for cannabis cultivation. Well, parts of it anyway. Once you extract the concentrated THC oil, this is ideal for export and demand for it is extremely high. Why should we not capitalise on this trend to create jobs? It is just a matter of time before the major countries of the world legalise it and we need to move quickly to get on board.

AND you cannot get rid of staff that are lazy or non productive.

You cannot believe the BS. The guavamunts legalise a drug that when smoked is more addictive than the nicotine in cigarettes and think they are doing well ? Only in the new RSA will you find these idijits!!!!!

More addictive than nicotine? Try again, sweetheart.

We could create some jobs but then again ive noticed Canada doesnt have EWC, I wonder if that will influence the results.

Want to fix unemployment in SA?

Quite easy really.
Fire half the cabinet.
Skills audit for government, fire everyone who doesnt meet the standard, standard set by foreigners because we cant do that ourselves.

Get rid of AA, BEE, BBBBBEEEEE, BEEEBBEE and all the other letter soups.
Make it easy to fire someone. Like stupid easy.

Now this is where you get really clever.
All companies get tax breaks based on their skills and training programs, up to a set amount.
Households get tax breaks for hiring maids.

SA could do many things but you can’t fix stupid.

One issue with the sector is that all the major markets that have legalized, also ban imports. So forget about exporting container loads to California or Colorado.

We haven’t even discussed the most obvious: HEMP!

Hemp production will be far better than it’s cousin. It is time to explore the advantages of Hemp which is a true crop and can be used for so many things.

It will be a boost for crime, NOT jobs. Drug-addicts steel, first out of wallets of family members and later, when they get kicked out and live on the streets, they get into worse crimes. And this is not even looking at the health risks. Maybe people should remember why it was outlawed in the first place.

Haha. I have an MASTERS degree from SAs top business school and smoke weed everyday. I must have nerves of steel cos I’ve never had the urge to steal to buy weed.
We need to educate people to get over their brainwashed stigmas related to a natural plant.
Weed makes you mellow. Like a fine glass of Merlot

Wow, the ignorance of Moneyweb readers is astounding.

End of comments.





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