During the past 24-months, since the decriminalisation of the private use and growth of cannabis in SA, the canna-industry has begun to boom with small enterprises launching across the country. One startup that particularly caught our attention is the Cape Town-based cannabis venture called The Haze Club.
The Haze Club operates as a “niche cannabis-specific garden service” that offers busy professionals the ability to grow the highest quality cannabis, legally and without any time or effort. The club essentially oversees the entire process from germination/cloning right through to curing and delivering.
Read More | The Haze Club: 20+ premium cannabis strains you can have grown and delivered right to your door
While the final product being delivered is cured bud, The Haze Club is adamant that they don’t sell cannabis or seeds but rather lease out space for members to grow and store their plant/s. So how legal is this operation and how does a membership work? We were lucky enough to chat with The Haze Club founder, Neil about the ins-and-outs of the business and what the future may look like for the cannabis industry in South Africa.
MCBN: We’re excited to chat to the innovators of the cannabis cultivating and delivery service concept in South Africa. Tell us more about how you came about and ultimately pioneered this idea?
Neil: After Chief Justice Zondo handed down the constitutional court ruling that made it legal for adults to use and cultivate cannabis in private, we asked the question “would it therefore then be legal to rent outgrow spaces and grow cannabis for those adults that cannot do so themselves?” The first step was to seek legal advice to vet the idea.
The Haze Club work with Schindler’s and now also CDH who advised on the structuring of our business to make sure whatever we do, we are doing it legally. I think there were many others with similar ideas, but we were the first to bite the bullet and take the risk and pave the way for others to follow. There is something to be said for first-mover advantage, and it’s on us to maintain our edge through superior quality and member experience.
MCBN: Briefly explain how membership works at The Haze Club and what a member gets.
Neil: Essentially we are a niche cannabis-specific garden service, with cannabis experts managing your ‘grow’ on your behalf. You either send us that special seed for us to grow for you or choose a clone from mother stock that we are keeping on behalf of our members.
We have several membership options including plant sharing for those that don’t consume a whole plants’ worth every 2 months or so. Your plant gets looked after from germination right through to drying and curing and is packaged beautifully and returned to you when she’s ready.
MCBN: Selling Cannabis is still illegal in SA, so what makes The Haze’s Club’s service different and legal?
Neil: The difference is that we do not sell cannabis. We are a service. The plant itself doesn’t belong to us. All plants including the mothers are the property of individual members, who have supplied us with their plant and are legally entitled to cultivate these in their private space. We simply make sure that their plants are professionally cared for.
MCBN: What techniques and methods are used to grow cannabis for members at The Haze Club and do you grow from and sell any seeds?
Neil: We do not sell seeds as this is technically part of the plant and therefore illegal. How a person is supposed to exercise their constitutional right without being allowed to purchase seeds is another story, and we expect this to be addressed in the cannabis bill due to be submitted to parliament. But for now, we simply grow what members send us, or clone from mothers that members have sent us in the past.
In terms of growing technique, and without going into laborious detail, we grow using the Sea of Green (SOG). This technique keeps plants small but reduces the vegetative time substantially. This means that members get more harvests more regularly, which equates to more variety. We grow from seed or clone, the choice is entirely up to the member.
MCBN: You’ve got a great number of strains from President Seeds & Green Smoke Seeds – what has been your favourite strain to grow so far?
Neil: Growing from seed is extremely variable as the genetics of each phenotype are unknown, but the surprise can be a lot of fun. It certainly keeps us on our toes. The best phenotype that’s come through our doors was a particular Putin’s Punch from President Seeds. We shed a few tears that she wasn’t a mother. She’ll remain one of those that got away.
MCBN: Has The Haze Club still been able to operate under lockdown? What’s changed for your business this year?
Neil: We had some challenges in level 5, but we have been able to operate per normal from level 4. I think the repercussions of lockdown and the impending recession will affect our business in times to come. We’re focusing on our members’ plants and letting the cookie crumble where it may.
MCBN: Other than growing, curing and delivering cannabis (as if that isn’t enough) – what other service/ perks does the Haze Club offer its members?
Neil: Apart from growing your plants, we strive to nurture a sense of community and value customer service as much as we do the growing. Next month we will be launching a new platform which will allow members to check up on their grow at any time as well as plan future grows. Eventually, we want to give members the ability to view their plants remotely at any time from anywhere.
MCBN: Do you feel the South African cannabis industry will fully legalise into a commercial and retail industry soon or is that still a distant dream?
Neil: Judging by the leaked draft of the cannabis bill last year, we may still be a way off. We are hoping for a more consultative process where government departments, the public, and business can work together to put through South Africa specific policy for full legalisation that will empower South Africans and not lend itself towards big multinationals coming in and monopolising the industry.
There’s huge potential for skills development, job creation, tax revenue and medicinal value, all of which our country desperately needs, especially in these trying times.
MCBN: Lastly, what is your biggest hope/wish for the future of the South African cannabis industry?
Neil: Full legalisation with a policy that’s tailored to the South African context and regulation that’s sensible and not too onerous to exclude smaller players. We hope to see the benefits of the plant reaching the people of this country.
If quality and convenience is your thing – and caring for plants is not – then The Haze Club’s premium cannabis growing service is exactly what you need. Check out their memberships and sign up for your first ‘grow’, on The Haze Club’s official website.
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