Cover image via
A South African politician has put out the call for space race leaders like Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos to launch cannabis from a large South Africa CBD company to outer space and beyond.
The premier of the Gauteng province, David Makhura, made a promotional visit to the Full Spectrum medical marijuana processing plant located in Vanderbijlpark on Oct. 6. A strong supporter of the country’s nascent legal marijuana industry, Markhura called the facility “central to unleashing the potential” of the region.
Makhura is so convinced that Full Spectrum is producing momentous weed things that he thinks the planet’s richest men should ensure the company’s presence in future Mars colonies. (“Colonization,” apparently, is a desirable concept when applied to other planets. What could go wrong?)
CEO Prof De Beer and I are challenging @elonmusk, @JeffBezos and @richardbranson to take our South African cannabis strains to Mars and Space to grow and cultivate. Through these cannabis seeds, we can create our own pharmacy in space. Let’s build new sustainable industries. pic.twitter.com/3wLG7iKxGB— David Makhura (@David_Makhura) October 6, 2021
“CEO Prof De Beer and I are challenging @elonmusk , @JeffBezos and @richardbranson to take our South African cannabis strains to Mars and Space to grow and cultivate,” the honorable (such is how one addresses a premier in South Africa) Makhura tweeted. “Through these cannabis seeds, we can create our own pharmacy in space. Let’s build new sustainable industries.”
Full Spectrum has named three of its strains after the space-race privateers: EMAH (Elon Musk and Humanity), RIBAH (Richard Branson and Humanity), and JEBAH (Jeff Bezos and Humanity). The homage is somewhat ironic, given that Musk told Joe Rogan during a podcast in February that, “CBD doesn’t do anything. Does it? I think that’s fake.”
Doubly ironic that Musk already beat Bezos and Branson in this landrace space race. In 2019, Musk's SpaceX sent hemp plants to the International Space Station. Granted, that mission only investigated whether cannabis would mutate in a weightless environment rather than testing if it could grow on Martian soil (spoiler alert: It's possible.)
The Vanderbijlpark firm is not the only cannabis brand set on inserting its product into the great beyond. In 2020, a space-themed THC-infused toothpicks company was rumored to have sent its product into the sky briefly, attached to a high-altitude balloon, in a publicity stunt.
South Africa is still slowly transitioning into cannabis regulation. The country’s Constitutional Court decriminalized personal use of the drug in 2018. In 2020, licenses were instituted to allow the production of cannabis for scientific research or exporting, but earlier this year, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development published a master plan that will lead the way to a full commercial cannabis industry over the next two years.
The country’s Black agricultural organizations have questioned the way the industry seems to favor corporate profits at the expense of small-scale producers. In April, farmers took to the streets in Musk’s hometown, the capital of Pretoria, to demand more opportunities for Indigenous agricultors.
Makhura, however, believes big business structures are necessary for South Africa's cannabis strategy. In February, he detailed his goal to make Gauteng center of South Africa's industrial cannabis processing during a speech.
“We [are] focusing on our high-growth priority sectors and infrastructure investment projects that will unlock the transformation, modernisation, and re-industrialisation of the different corridors and districts of our city region,” he said.
Follow Caitlin on Instagram