5 April 2019

South Africa: Cannacoffee, Sativa Lube and Lots of Growing Equipment - Highlights of the Cannabis Expo

Photo: Andre van Wyk/allAfrica.com
There was no shortage of visitors at the expo's many stalls.

Sativa lube, luxury humidors for the "cannasseur", lollipops and even treats to keep the dog chilled out were some of the highlights of Cape Town's four-day Cannabis Expo which opened with a bit of a rush on Thursday morning.

"Mmmmm! That's warm! It's so lovely," said a group of four elderly women who were testing out the range of cannabis lubricants rubbed on their wrists by Love Oil's Jazmine Phiri.

"None of them has THC, so you will not get high," said Phiri, explaining that the range contains natural ingredients and is designed to add tingles and fun to maximise sexual arousal for joint or solo pleasure. The range includes lubricants for different occasions. One is called Pause and is said to be a hit with older men who are not keen on Viagra.

THC - or Tetrahydrocannabinol - is the compound in cannabis that gets people "high".

Nearby, a queue of people had animated discussions over the CannaCoffee stand which was dispensing AmeriCannas and CannaChinos, with the assurance that the THC-free caffeine and hemp multi-CBD blend would leave the drinker "energised without the anxiety and shakes of usual coffee".

CBD - or cannabidiol also does not have the "make-you-high" effect.

One coffee drinker told News24 that the complimentary biscuit was very soothing.

At an entry fee of R200 per person, the expo hall at Grand West Casino was heaving with browsers, ranging from freshly scrubbed business people to Rastafarians with high crowns and entrepreneurs demonstrating the vast and expensive array of growing and processing equipment available.

A cannabis oil businessman from Israel, dragging his luggage behind him, started up a conversation with a large-scale grower in Lesotho while waiting in line for the security scan.

Near the entrance, Grant McCulloch of Virescent demonstrated with a flick of the finger how the stylish perspex and black cone-shaped gadget in front of him was not a pepper grinder but rolled a joint in seconds. The same gadget can be used to grind rosemary for a Sunday roast.

On the other side of the expo hall, the countdown started for a joint rolling competition with a businessman in chinos and a tasteful blue shirt beating his wild-haired opponent in a camo jacket at 27 seconds.

In a tiny kiosk, Ceri Phillips of The Barkery sold hemp dog treats, made from natural ingredients, and apparently helpful for busy dogs or for calming them ahead of the annual fireworks display. The THC-free bone-shaped biscuits contain hemp and canna oil and are touted to be useful for other dog ailments, including arthritis.

The R45 "Durban Poison" craft beer piqued the curiosity of many, although there were some polite mutterings about the price of Durban Poison in Cape Town.

There were also green-striped lollipops on sale with the sign "don't worry it's chocolate" next to it, arty rolling papers and bongs and pipes ranging from plain glass to Murano-like masterpieces.

In one of the ongoing presentations at a side-stage, Sharon Price from Carol's Oil spoke about the healing benefits of the plant and its compounds, but at the same time urged the audience to involve an "integrated healing" doctor if choosing this path.

"There are so many people out there with a good heart but they don't know what they are doing," warned Price. "This plant is a miracle plant, but at the same time, it is not a magic bullet."

After sharing the journey of her mother's recovery from pancreatic cancer she advised: "You don't get cancer, take a couple of litres of cannabis and get cured. Work with doctors."

Surfer, model, and actress Roxy Loux extolled the virtues of "Cannayoga", explaining that after a long period of anxiety she managed to find inner peace with a combination of yoga and cannabis. Her and husband Sam host Cannayoga retreats for people interested in this approach to the stresses of modern life.

But the biggest crowds stared wistfully at the stands with vast cleaning drums, growing tents, lighting equipment, nutrients, soils, PH testers.

Companies offered consultancies on the various intricate components of growing what many call "green gold" for its economic and medicinal uses once all the legalities are resolved in South Africa.

The Constitutional Court ruled last year that it is unconstitutional to criminalise cannabis for personal use.

Natie Ferreira, treasurer of cannabis lobby group CIDCWC, which advocates for the smaller scale grower and user and cooperatives, said that currently, "everybody has their own interpretation of the Constitution".

For pharmacist Nico Kriek, MD of the Cannabis Compliance Bureau, the law is quite clear - only personal use is currently allowed as cannabis is still classified a Schedule 7 substance.

However, his company has spotted an opportunity as the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority grants its first licences to grow for the export market.

Four licences were awarded on April 1, but, said Kriek and his colleagues, it takes between R2.5m to R3m to get through the regulatory hoops and to the point of being inspected to be considered for an export licence.

"It's not like growing tomatoes," said his colleague Imiel Visser.

More on this aspect later on News24.

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