South Africa poised for cannabis trade despite obstacles

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — 2018 has been called the "year for cannabis" in South Africa. But there are still hurdles before a legal marijuana industry can flourish in an African economic power deemed ideal for large-scale cultivation.

Advocates rejoiced at a Constitutional Court decision in September that upheld the legalization of the adult use and cultivation of pot in private. 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.

Although the cannabis plant was barred from the expo for traders and consumers, the packed event reflected the view that cannabis has big business potential, particularly for export.