City of Cape Town eyes dagga economy, frees land to grow its own

James Stevens shares his story of using cannabis oil.
James Stevens shares his story of using cannabis oil.

Vacant land in Atlantis, Cape Town, has been freed up for the production of medical cannabis, the City of Cape Town announced on Thursday.

The City approved the decision, "which will set the foundation to unlock Cape Town's potential in this untapped sector".

"This positive move by the City gives us the opportunity to unlock the economic benefits with the resultant job creation opportunities that this emerging industry will present," said James Vos, the mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management.

The set-up of the facility will bring with it an investment of R638 million in capital expenditure during the construction of phase one. 

Additionally, a further R1.5bn will be invested during phase two which is expected to commence in about four year's time.

The report approved by council was to seek approval for the transfer of a portion of vacant land within the Atlantis Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for the establishment of the first medical cannabis plant in the metro and the Western Cape.

"The City of Cape Town's decision to release this erven in Atlantis is testament of our commitment to partner with the private sector to explore new opportunities to grow the economy," said Vos. 

Atlantis, said Vos, is known for its "green" economic opportunities, and this new industry can potentially bring significant income, jobs and skills development to the area.

According to Vos, this is another area of untapped economic potential that the team in the City's enterprise and investment department along with Wesgro – Cape Town and the province's official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency - have been pursuing "to see how we can land their investment in Cape Town".

By the end of phase two employment opportunities for up to 250 people would have been created, the City envisaged.

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