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2018 has been called the "year for cannabis" in South Africa.A cannabis expo in the capital, Pretoria, this month was Africa's first, organizers said. However, buying and selling cannabis for recreational reasons remains illegal, and an onerous licensing process has held up the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana.Expo Director Silas Howarth said there is already "a healthy, strong, legal industry" in cannabis-related products in South Africa, including an energy drink and a beer (Durban Poison, named after a cannabis strain) that use hemp seed oil in production and lack THC, the plant's main psychoactive component.The growth potential for South Africa as a cannabis industry provider could be "massive" as the global market for medical cannabis expands and laws on recreational use loosen, Howarth said.The small, mountainous country of Lesotho, which is surrounded by South Africa, has already issued permits to some foreign-owned companies to grow and export medical marijuana.South Africa has a good growing climate for cannabis, also known locally as "dagga," and low labor and production costs compared to consumer nations in the West.
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