The burgeoning legal cannabis industry is tipped to hold much promise for South Africa, not least in the form of jobs.
The first cannabis education platform on the African continent was launched in June, its online courses aimed at bringing medicinal cannabis education to South Africans at a time when the industry is poised for rapid growth.
Cheeba Africa is a company promoting access to health and wellness through its CBD ranges.
According to industry analysts Prohibition Partner, the legal cannabis industry in Africa may be worth more than $7.1bn (R122.3bn) annually by 2023, and South Africa’s domestic market for cannabis and related products (excluding legal, non-psychoactive CBD products) could amount to R27bn a year by 2023.
“Cannabis has the potential to positively impact our economy, facilitating large-scale job creation, uplifting low-income communities, especially in under-served rural areas, as well as contributing to the overall improvement of people’s health,” says Birch.
“However, for this to happen, we need to provide opportunities for people to develop industry-specific skills.”
Birch says the establishment of a “world-leading, long-lasting and responsible industry” will depend on training and education, and the creation of a cannabis business ecosystem in which entrepreneurs, growers, employers, medical professionals and wellness practitioners can thrive.
The first suite of four Cheeba Cannabis Academy short courses are online and open for enrolment now.
They are aimed at anyone interested in entering the industry or adding cannabis expertise to their skillset.
The academy has partnered with US-based cannabis online education platform Medical Marijuana 411 and, where necessary, course content has been adapted for the South African market.
Medical Marijuana 411 is considered a leader in online medical marijuana education for patients, media professionals and dispensary consultants.
Pharmacist Jacqui Ramage, the academy’s head of training and facilitation, is an expert on SA’s medicinal and regulatory cannabis industry, and will present some of the initial courses.
For some of the courses students will be able to get together in an online classroom to facilitate personalised learning and industry networking.
Birch has 10 years’ experience in South African private tertiary education and his vision is that the cannabis industry will trigger much-needed economic transformation to enable marginalised South Africans to improve their livelihoods.
“Cheeba Cannabis Academy will soon offer a scholarship programme, and we will continue to host workshops in townships and rural areas when in-person training is possible again,” Birch says.
The academy’s advisory board includes doctors, pharmacists and industry experts such as Tony Buddon, who has been pioneering the use of industrial cannabis products since 1996 through his company, Hemporium.
For more information visit: www.cheebaafrica.com.