From the frontlines of South Africa’s emerging cannabis industry, Cheeba Africa has announced the launch of the Cheeba Cannabis Academy. This is the first learning platform dedicated to cannabis education on the African continent, which opens its online portal at a time when the industry is poised for rapid growth and making a significant contribution to sustainable socio-economic development.
According to industry analysts, Prohibition Partner, the legal cannabis industry in Africa is predicted to be worth more than $US 7.1 billion annually by 2023. In the same time-frame, they estimate South Africa’s domestic market for cannabis and related products, excluding the legal, non-psychoactive CBD products, to be worth R27 billion per year.
Critical to the establishment of a world-leading, long-lasting and responsible industry is the provision of training and education that enables the development of a cannabis business ecosystem where entrepreneurs, growers, employers, medical professionals and wellness practitioners can all thrive. “Cannabis has the potential to positively impact our economy, facilitating large-scale job creation, uplifting low-income communities, especially in under-served rural areas as well as contributing to the overall improvement of people’s health. “However, in order for this to happen, we need to provide opportunities for people to develop industry-specific skills. Boogaloo Africa is proud to be the first contributor in this space” says CEO and co-founder Trenton Birch.
The first suite of four Cheeba Cannabis Academy short courses, which are aimed at those interested in entering the industry or adding cannabis expertise to their skills-set, are available online and open for enrolment now.
The Academy has partnered with the US-based cannabis online education platform, Medical Marijuana 411, and where necessary, customized the course content for the South African market. Some of their courses provide a unique blended learning model where students get together in an online classroom with a maximum of 20 people which facilitates personalised learning and industry networking.
Birch draws on a solid decade of experience in South African tertiary education having established three hi-tech campuses offering creative media tuition to over 450 students a year. Ensuring the high quality of Cheeba Cannabis Academy’s offering has entailed 10 months of global research and learning journeys to worldwide centres of cannabis excellence such as California and Barcelona. “We are proud to have partnered with the Cheeba Africa team to assist them in bringing medicinal cannabis education to South Africans. With their extensive experience in education and cannabis they are well-positioned to contribute significantly to the growth of their industry through world-class cannabis education,” says Christine Nazarenus, the Chief Vision Officer and co-founder of Medical Marijuana 411.
Birch also brings a personal passion to Boogaloo Africa and the Academy. “I believe this is a passion industry,” Birch says. “Cheeba Africa is a cannabis health and wellness company promoting access to health and wellness through our CBD ranges, and we are deeply committed to education through the Cheeba Cannabis Academy and Craft Cannabis TV.” He also has a vision of how the burgeoning cannabis industry can trigger much-needed economic transformation that enables marginalised South Africans to improve livelihoods. Birch has been involved in establishing the Bridges for Music Academy in Langa and taking action against inequality through developing educational programmes for disadvantaged youth. “Cheeba Cannabis Academy will soon offer a scholarship programme, and we will continue to host workshops in townships and rural areas when in-person training is possible again.”
The Academy benefits from long-standing relationships and close collaborations in the industry that precede the legalisation allowing for personal marijuana use and CBD products in South Africa. Their advisory board includes doctors, pharmacists and industry experts such as Tony Buddon, who has been pioneering the use of industrial cannabis products since 1996 through his company, Hemporium. Cheeba Cannabis Academy’s Head of Training and Facilitation , Jacqui Ramage (B.Pharm) says, “Education is going to be a fundamental differentiator when it comes to sustainable success in the South African medicinal cannabis industry. A skilled industry will help to ensure accurate, relevant and accountable access to the markets. We are looking forward to welcoming our first cohort of students and journeying with them as they build the skills relevant to this exciting industry.”