The Paarl-based company Afriplex (Pty) Ltd, in partnership with the House of Hemp, has been awarded South Africa’s first medical Cannabis licence for the commercial production of medical Cannabis by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), as well as the first Cannabis Cultivation Licence.
This achievement is an historical first for South Africa, at a time when the Cannabis industry is exploding across the world and creating thousands of sustainable jobs.
Afriplex excitedly announced the establishment of their dedicated Cannabis Laboratory last month, which will carry out research and studies on the healing herb and help bring cannabis processing facilities up to Department of Health and the SAHPRA regulations.
The growing research on Cannabis, both locally and globally, shows the recognition that Cannabis and Cannabidiol (CBD) is getting for the many possible benefits it could have for patients suffering a range of illness.
Visionary founder and Executive Chairperson of Hemp House, Dr. Thandeka R. Kunene, said, “For us, getting approved to be South Africa’s first licensed commercial producers of medical Cannabis marks the successful completion of a 20-year journey. It is the fulfillment of the vision of being the black Cannabis Industrialist capable of competing on the global stage. HoH has attained this milestone purely on merit, fuelled by our team’s passion plus years of research and demonstrable commitment to this unique, lucrative agro-industry.”
House of Hemp’s state-of-the-art glass Cannabis greenhouse is situated in the Dube Trade Port’s AgriZone precinct and is Africa’s first integrated perishables supply chain, and the most technologically advanced future-farming platform that hosts the largest climate-controlled growing area under glass in Africa.
The agricultural precinct largely produces high-value vegetables and horticultural products for both domestic and export markets. In addition to glass greenhouses, Dube AgriZone has dedicated post-harvest sorting, packing, and distribution facilities drawing produce from the site and from producers outside the site, as well as an indigenous plant nursery and state-of-the-art plant tissue culture laboratory that provides young plants for the agribusiness sector both locally and internationally. These facilities are perfectly located for easy delivery to Cape Town International Airport.
The Cannabis Laboratory developed by Afriplex includes:
– A high-end security system to control access
– Stringent, Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) protocols are in place
– A Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) will track the arrival and storage of plant samples, as well as the development of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and other extraction samples of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN)
– Lab equipment will be maintained and serviced, calibrated, sterilised and decontaminated in line with good GLP and GMP practices
– Quantitative assays using GC-MS, GC or HPLC will ascertain the volume of THC, CBD or CBN in samples
– Afriplex will make use of existing and new libraries of ID markers to identify the stock arriving at the plant.
“Samples from the final powders, tinctures, oils and APIs will be tested for stability, quality, reliability, and reproducibility in the same manner that Afriplex has prided itself in all our operations. We have invested in a specialised team of experienced professionals and researchers to establish our Cannabis Laboratory. This commitment has resulted in the SA Cannabis Research Institute (SACRI) nominating the Afriplex Cannabis Laboratory as the lab of choice in South Africa,” says Afriplex CEO Danie Nel.
As South Africa turns over a new leaf and begins to consider the benefits of Cannabis in a way that the country has never done before, it is clear that Cape Town will take the lead in this venture and grow the industry to new heights.