Just think how large-scale commercial production of cannabis, along with processing, packaging, distribution and retailing, could swell the state's coffers with additional taxes and create much-needed jobs. But could legalising marijuana have unintended consequences? Last week, Zimbabwe decided to allow commercial production of cannabis for medical and research purposes, following Lesotho. In the US, growing and consuming cannabis for medical and recreational purposes is now allowed in some states. Is South Africa missing out on a big export opportunity? Is our cash-strapped government turning a blind eye to a potential source of additional tax? After all, sin taxes on tobacco and alcohol net the state billions each year, and sales of cannabis oil and lotions could, for example, bring in additional VAT. In March last year, the High Court in Cape Town ruled that it was permissible to possess, cultivate and use dagga at home, for private use. The court also ruled that the Drugs and Dr...

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