$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Archives

Marijuana is getting its time in South Africa’s spotlight after being decriminalized in September.

The landmark constitutional court ruling, which still needs to be translated into law, allows South Africans to legally grow and consume their own cannabis at home.

The ruling explicitly forbids dealing in marijuana products, meaning if you don’t already have it, you can’t buy or sell it.

But the buzz around this long-forbidden plant is sparking a slew of pot-themed products on South African shelves.

Poison City Brewing released a popular cannabis-infused beer right after the court ruling.

“We sold out of our first batch of stock within 10 days of its release, and at the moment we brewed 100,000 liters for the next batch, which we’ve sold out already, so we’ve doubled that to 200,000 liters for the next batch. So it’s absolutely incredible,” said sales manager Natasha Nkonjera.

None of these store-friendly products contain tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical that causes marijuana’s “dazed and confused” effects, which is still considered a prohibited narcotic.

Cannabis advocate Connor Davis released a hemp-infused gin through his family distillery, Monk’s Gin. He says these novelty drinks are just the start of pot products in South Africa.

“There are over 100,000 products that can come from cannabis,” he said. “The industrial benefits of it — I mean, you can build an entire house from cannabis alone. From the insulation to the actual brickwork to your carpeting, to your linen, everything can be made from hemp. So that has incredible potential.”

South Africa — with its sunny and temperate weather and rich, arable land — has long been one of the world’s top growers and exporters of illegal cannabis.

But, with the change in law, the government’s Department of Trade and Industry is now studying the economic potential of the plant.

Davis says he believes the cannabis industry can help address South Africa’s severe unemployment rates.

“The statistics we have been comparing, from the United States to South Africa, potentially, immediately from day one, we’ve got at least 200,000 jobs to be given in the cannabis industry,” he said.

Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke are longtime marijuana advocates who led the push for South Africa’s landmark ruling. They see a number of commercial uses for marijuana, such as the lucrative beauty market.

“I think the cosmetic potential of cannabis is enormous,” Clarke said. “I use a one-percent THC-infused moisturizer, which is absolutely amazing. And everything from balms for your tattoos to hair products — I think that has got huge potential to try and get rid of as many of the chemicals that we put in our skin and our hair.”

Stobbs is less optimistic about commercialization, but sees marijuana entering the culture in a way it never has before.

“I see quite a scary future. I see different cultures trying to get in on the deal, now that it’s hip to the groove, and not a scaly thing to be doing, smoking skanky joints. And now it’s really hip, and you’ve got beautiful vaporizers and stuff, and epic glass, and Beverly Hills chicks doing it on chat shows,” he said.

But that, Stobbs admits, is the point of legalizing cannabis: Once you plant that seed, it grows like, well, a weed.


$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Marijuana is getting its time in South Africa’s spotlight after being decriminalized in September.

The landmark constitutional court ruling, which still needs to be translated into law, allows South Africans to legally grow and consume their own cannabis at home.

The ruling explicitly forbids dealing in marijuana products, meaning if you don’t already have it, you can’t buy or sell it.

But the buzz around this long-forbidden plant is sparking a slew of pot-themed products on South African shelves.

Poison City Brewing released a popular cannabis-infused beer right after the court ruling.

“We sold out of our first batch of stock within 10 days of its release, and at the moment we brewed 100,000 liters for the next batch, which we’ve sold out already, so we’ve doubled that to 200,000 liters for the next batch. So it’s absolutely incredible,” said sales manager Natasha Nkonjera.

None of these store-friendly products contain tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical that causes marijuana’s “dazed and confused” effects, which is still considered a prohibited narcotic.

Cannabis advocate Connor Davis released a hemp-infused gin through his family distillery, Monk’s Gin. He says these novelty drinks are just the start of pot products in South Africa.

“There are over 100,000 products that can come from cannabis,” he said. “The industrial benefits of it — I mean, you can build an entire house from cannabis alone. From the insulation to the actual brickwork to your carpeting, to your linen, everything can be made from hemp. So that has incredible potential.”

South Africa — with its sunny and temperate weather and rich, arable land — has long been one of the world’s top growers and exporters of illegal cannabis.

But, with the change in law, the government’s Department of Trade and Industry is now studying the economic potential of the plant.

Davis says he believes the cannabis industry can help address South Africa’s severe unemployment rates.

“The statistics we have been comparing, from the United States to South Africa, potentially, immediately from day one, we’ve got at least 200,000 jobs to be given in the cannabis industry,” he said.

Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke are longtime marijuana advocates who led the push for South Africa’s landmark ruling. They see a number of commercial uses for marijuana, such as the lucrative beauty market.

“I think the cosmetic potential of cannabis is enormous,” Clarke said. “I use a one-percent THC-infused moisturizer, which is absolutely amazing. And everything from balms for your tattoos to hair products — I think that has got huge potential to try and get rid of as many of the chemicals that we put in our skin and our hair.”

Stobbs is less optimistic about commercialization, but sees marijuana entering the culture in a way it never has before.

“I see quite a scary future. I see different cultures trying to get in on the deal, now that it’s hip to the groove, and not a scaly thing to be doing, smoking skanky joints. And now it’s really hip, and you’ve got beautiful vaporizers and stuff, and epic glass, and Beverly Hills chicks doing it on chat shows,” he said.

But that, Stobbs admits, is the point of legalizing cannabis: Once you plant that seed, it grows like, well, a weed.


$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Now that South Africa’s highest court has relaxed the nation’s laws on marijuana, local entrepreneurs are trying to cash in on the popular herb. Among the latest entries to the market: several highly popular cannabis-laced alcohol products, which deliver the unique taste, though without the signature high. Marijuana activists say this could just be the beginning and that the famous plant could do much more for the national economy. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.


$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Now that South Africa’s highest court has relaxed the nation’s laws on marijuana, local entrepreneurs are trying to cash in on the popular herb. Among the latest entries to the market: several highly popular cannabis-laced alcohol products, which deliver the unique taste, though without the signature high. Marijuana activists say this could just be the beginning and that the famous plant could do much more for the national economy. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.


$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Place names in Arlington County have never been a simple matter. A major fight broke out when National Airport was named for Ronald Reagan in 1998. A fight continues over whether to name a park next to the airport for Nancy Reagan. And in the 1920s, the Postal Service refused to establish a post office in Arlington because the street names were so confusing and haphazard.

So it is fitting that as Arlington officials celebrated Amazon’s decision to locate a new headquarters in the area, there was a bit of confusion over the place name.

Amazon announced Tuesday that it was coming to National Landing, a place people had not heard of because it doesn’t exist. Economic development officials who were wooing the online retailing giant came up with the name as a way to describe the multiple neighborhoods that were being offered as a site.

Those neighborhoods — Crystal City and Pentagon City in Arlington County, and Potomac Yard in the city of Alexandria — span multiple jurisdictions, so the name allowed Alexandria and Arlington to work cooperatively without marketing one locality over another.

Unfortunately, because the yearlong process of wooing Amazon had been so secretive, the moniker that had become so commonplace in the economic-development discussions had zero recognition among the general public. So Amazon’s use of the name in its big announcement left people scratching their heads.

Some people confused it with National Harbor, a new development in Maryland that has attracted one of the biggest casinos on the East Coast. Comedian Remy Munasifi, who made his name poking fun at Arlington in a YouTube rap that has been viewed more than 2 million times, suggested that Arlington National Cemetery would soon be renamed “Kindle Shores.”

Rep. Don Beyer, whose congressional district encompasses the neighborhoods, got in on the act when he suggested that the location of a new $1 billion graduate campus be dubbed “Hokie Landing.” The campus was a key incentive offered to Amazon by Virginia, which promised to double the number of students who graduate each year with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science and related fields.

No official steps were ever taken to rename the region, and local officials have made clear they have no intention of trying to rename Crystal City or any other neighborhood.

In a tweet posted by Arlington Economic Development on Thursday, Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz explained that National Landing was simply “a way to avoid saying, ‘Parts of Arlington, parts of Alexandria.’ ”

Christina Winn, director of business investment for Arlington Economic Development, said officials never imagined “there would be so much conversation” about the concept. Winn said there’s no intention to supplant or override the name of Crystal City, which draws its name from a big chandelier in one of the first apartment buildings to go up in the area in the 1960s.

Still, she said, if Arlington and Alexandria team up on another economic-development pitch in the future, she said that the moniker might be revived.

“It worked once,” she said.


$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Place names in Arlington County have never been a simple matter. A major fight broke out when National Airport was named for Ronald Reagan in 1998. A fight continues over whether to name a park next to the airport for Nancy Reagan. And in the 1920s, the Postal Service refused to establish a post office in Arlington because the street names were so confusing and haphazard.

So it is fitting that as Arlington officials celebrated Amazon’s decision to locate a new headquarters in the area, there was a bit of confusion over the place name.

Amazon announced Tuesday that it was coming to National Landing, a place people had not heard of because it doesn’t exist. Economic development officials who were wooing the online retailing giant came up with the name as a way to describe the multiple neighborhoods that were being offered as a site.

Those neighborhoods — Crystal City and Pentagon City in Arlington County, and Potomac Yard in the city of Alexandria — span multiple jurisdictions, so the name allowed Alexandria and Arlington to work cooperatively without marketing one locality over another.

Unfortunately, because the yearlong process of wooing Amazon had been so secretive, the moniker that had become so commonplace in the economic-development discussions had zero recognition among the general public. So Amazon’s use of the name in its big announcement left people scratching their heads.

Some people confused it with National Harbor, a new development in Maryland that has attracted one of the biggest casinos on the East Coast. Comedian Remy Munasifi, who made his name poking fun at Arlington in a YouTube rap that has been viewed more than 2 million times, suggested that Arlington National Cemetery would soon be renamed “Kindle Shores.”

Rep. Don Beyer, whose congressional district encompasses the neighborhoods, got in on the act when he suggested that the location of a new $1 billion graduate campus be dubbed “Hokie Landing.” The campus was a key incentive offered to Amazon by Virginia, which promised to double the number of students who graduate each year with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science and related fields.

No official steps were ever taken to rename the region, and local officials have made clear they have no intention of trying to rename Crystal City or any other neighborhood.

In a tweet posted by Arlington Economic Development on Thursday, Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz explained that National Landing was simply “a way to avoid saying, ‘Parts of Arlington, parts of Alexandria.’ ”

Christina Winn, director of business investment for Arlington Economic Development, said officials never imagined “there would be so much conversation” about the concept. Winn said there’s no intention to supplant or override the name of Crystal City, which draws its name from a big chandelier in one of the first apartment buildings to go up in the area in the 1960s.

Still, she said, if Arlington and Alexandria team up on another economic-development pitch in the future, she said that the moniker might be revived.

“It worked once,” she said.


$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Climate change, steel and migration have emerged as sticking points in the final communique that world leaders will issue at the end of the Group of 20 summit in Argentina later this month, an Argentine government official said on Thursday.

Those issues were the “most complicated” areas of discussion, said Argentina’s Pedro Villagra Delgado, the lead organizer, or “sherpa,” for the summit of leaders from key industrialized and developing economies. 

But he told a press briefing he was optimistic these issues would be resolved in time.

The G20 communique is a non-binding agreement on key international policy issues and will be presented at the conclusion of the two-day summit, which begins on Nov. 30.

Climate goals concern United States

Villagra Delgado said the United States was resistant to including language that outlined guidelines for climate goals in the document.

After withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement last year, the United States broke with other G20 member countries who have pledged to end coal usage and take steps to reach the goals outlined in the accord.

Villagra Delgado also said China disagreed with the rest of the G20 countries on steel, but did not provide further details over the specifics of their disagreement.

The United States has skirmished with a number of its trading partners — including China — over steel, imposing a 25 percent duty on imports of steel and a tariff of 10 percent on aluminum.

Other countries objected to including language about immigration in the communique, Villagra Delgado said, but would not elaborate on which countries expressed concern.

WTO reform may be on table

Reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO) may also be a topic of discussion at this month’s meeting, Villagra Delgado said, but added that specific issues to be discussed in the G20 sessions were still being worked out.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to pull out of the WTO, while China has claimed the 20-year-old organization’s dispute resolution mechanisms are outdated in the current global economy.


$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Climate change, steel and migration have emerged as sticking points in the final communique that world leaders will issue at the end of the Group of 20 summit in Argentina later this month, an Argentine government official said on Thursday.

Those issues were the “most complicated” areas of discussion, said Argentina’s Pedro Villagra Delgado, the lead organizer, or “sherpa,” for the summit of leaders from key industrialized and developing economies. 

But he told a press briefing he was optimistic these issues would be resolved in time.

The G20 communique is a non-binding agreement on key international policy issues and will be presented at the conclusion of the two-day summit, which begins on Nov. 30.

Climate goals concern United States

Villagra Delgado said the United States was resistant to including language that outlined guidelines for climate goals in the document.

After withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement last year, the United States broke with other G20 member countries who have pledged to end coal usage and take steps to reach the goals outlined in the accord.

Villagra Delgado also said China disagreed with the rest of the G20 countries on steel, but did not provide further details over the specifics of their disagreement.

The United States has skirmished with a number of its trading partners — including China — over steel, imposing a 25 percent duty on imports of steel and a tariff of 10 percent on aluminum.

Other countries objected to including language about immigration in the communique, Villagra Delgado said, but would not elaborate on which countries expressed concern.

WTO reform may be on table

Reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO) may also be a topic of discussion at this month’s meeting, Villagra Delgado said, but added that specific issues to be discussed in the G20 sessions were still being worked out.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to pull out of the WTO, while China has claimed the 20-year-old organization’s dispute resolution mechanisms are outdated in the current global economy.


$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman expects to get new loans from the International Monetary Fund as early as December, once parliament passes a budget of stability that refrains from making pre-election populist moves, he said Thursday.

Securing IMF assistance will also unlock loans from the World Bank and the European Union. Groysman also said Ukraine was in negotiations with Washington for a new loan guarantee for sovereign debt.

Groysman negotiated a new deal with the IMF last month aimed at keeping finances on an even keel during a choppy election period next year. The new loans are contingent on his steering an IMF-compliant budget through parliament.

“This budget is a budget of stability and continuation of reforms,” Groysman said in an interview with Reuters. “This is fully consistent with our IMF program.”

“Yes. We are counting on a tranche in December,” he added, when asked about when IMF loans were expected, though he did not elaborate on the possible size of the loan.

Ukraine’s government approved a draft budget in September but it will typically undergo a slew of amendments before parliament finally approves it. 

Tax proposal dropped

Groysman said a proposal to change how companies are taxed — on withdrawn capital, rather than profits — had been dropped from the budget because of the IMF’s concerns.

He also said he would not bow to opposition parties’ demands to reverse a recent increase in household gas tariffs, a step that his government reluctantly took to qualify for more IMF assistance.

“Populism led to the weakness of Ukraine,” he said. “This should not be allowed.” 

The IMF and Kyiv’s foreign allies came to Ukraine’s rescue after it plunged into turmoil following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and support for separatist rebels occupying the eastern industrial Donbass region. 

The United States has also sold coal to plug a domestic shortage caused by rebels taking control of mines in the east. U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry visited Ukraine this week. 

In response to a question about whether Ukraine would continue to buy coal from the United States and potentially also liquefied natural gas, Groysman said that “liquefied gas is very interesting for Ukraine. We talked about the whole spectrum of our cooperation in the energy sector.”

As for coal, he added, “we will buy it from our international partners until we cover the domestic deficit.” 

Washington has also previously issued loan guarantees for Ukrainian debt. Groysman said another such guarantee was “under discussion.” 


$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman expects to get new loans from the International Monetary Fund as early as December, once parliament passes a budget of stability that refrains from making pre-election populist moves, he said Thursday.

Securing IMF assistance will also unlock loans from the World Bank and the European Union. Groysman also said Ukraine was in negotiations with Washington for a new loan guarantee for sovereign debt.

Groysman negotiated a new deal with the IMF last month aimed at keeping finances on an even keel during a choppy election period next year. The new loans are contingent on his steering an IMF-compliant budget through parliament.

“This budget is a budget of stability and continuation of reforms,” Groysman said in an interview with Reuters. “This is fully consistent with our IMF program.”

“Yes. We are counting on a tranche in December,” he added, when asked about when IMF loans were expected, though he did not elaborate on the possible size of the loan.

Ukraine’s government approved a draft budget in September but it will typically undergo a slew of amendments before parliament finally approves it. 

Tax proposal dropped

Groysman said a proposal to change how companies are taxed — on withdrawn capital, rather than profits — had been dropped from the budget because of the IMF’s concerns.

He also said he would not bow to opposition parties’ demands to reverse a recent increase in household gas tariffs, a step that his government reluctantly took to qualify for more IMF assistance.

“Populism led to the weakness of Ukraine,” he said. “This should not be allowed.” 

The IMF and Kyiv’s foreign allies came to Ukraine’s rescue after it plunged into turmoil following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and support for separatist rebels occupying the eastern industrial Donbass region. 

The United States has also sold coal to plug a domestic shortage caused by rebels taking control of mines in the east. U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry visited Ukraine this week. 

In response to a question about whether Ukraine would continue to buy coal from the United States and potentially also liquefied natural gas, Groysman said that “liquefied gas is very interesting for Ukraine. We talked about the whole spectrum of our cooperation in the energy sector.”

As for coal, he added, “we will buy it from our international partners until we cover the domestic deficit.” 

Washington has also previously issued loan guarantees for Ukrainian debt. Groysman said another such guarantee was “under discussion.” 


$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!