Survey of South African Cannabis Users and Growers


With so many countries, both neighbouring South Africa and in the rest of the world legalising the sale and use of cannabis, there has been much anticipation that South Africa would follow suit on the 18 September 2020 when Judge Davis’s ruling would be promulgated into law. However, after meetings with the Justice Department, it would appear that policy makers are not planning to extend legalisation of cannabis beyond the current use in private. Other departments don’t appear to be any further along in their deliberations.

In a move to gain as much public support as possible and to demonstrate to the government that full legalisation of cannabis could provide a much needed injection into the economy, the Social Surveys Institute is proposing conducting a study of cannabis users and growers. Although this study does not replace the South African National Cannabis Survey to determine the size and scope of the sector, it will provide much needed insight into what the real face of the South African cannabis user looks like and what they are using cannabis for. It will also provide useful insights into the numbers of people whose livelihoods currently depend on cannabis. Other social justice issues such as the barriers facing small farmers will also be explored.

As media coverage and public interest around cannabis is likely to increase considerably around the time of the ruling, we propose conducting this study during August 2020, which gives us five weeks. It is envisaged that the results will be published as widely as possible in the media in the hope of garnering support for full legalisation. This will only be possible however, if funding is found to cover the cost of the survey by the 28th July 2020.

The primary objective of the study is to advocate for the full legalisation of cannabis at a time when public interest is heightened and impact potentially increased. It is believed that the survey will help to open doors to key government officials to facilitate lobbying efforts and increase awareness around the potential benefits of legalisation. It will also present an opportunity to highlight the need for the protection of small farmers on legalisation and the impact of continued arrests for cannabis related ‘crimes’.

We hope to be able to achieve a minimum of 5 000 interviews via WhatsApp. Contact details will be collected from a wide range of sectors ensuring that we cover all sectors of the market. 500 follow up interviews will be conducted with a sub-sample of respondents to explore certain issues further. The quantitative survey above will be supplemented by 20 indepth interviews lasting an hour with key stakeholder which will provide important insights into the results of the main survey. The results will be written up into a PowerPoint presentation highlighting key findings and headline insights. We plan to use the survey to gain access to key government departments both provincial and national. We will also put out a press release and undertake interviews on radio and if possible, TV. Listed below is a list of draft questions for comment. Once the questions to be included has been agreed, they will be carefully formulated with a list of close-ended responses.


  • Age, income, gender, race, location, employment


  • Do you use cannabis?
  • What do you use if for, if medicinal what do you use it to treat?
  • What form do you use it in?
  • How frequently do you use it?
  • Where do you get it from?
  • How long have you been using cannabis?


  • Do you grow cannabis?
  • On average how many plants do you grow a year?
  • Do you grow indoor or outdoor?
  • What is your harvest mainly used for?
  • How long have you been growing for?
  • Have you ever been arrested?


  • Do you sell cannabis or cannabis related products?
  • Who do you sell to?
  • How much of your incomes comes from the sale of cannabis or cannabis related
  • How many people including yourself do you employ in the growing/selling of
    cannabis or cannabis related products?
  • How many people do you support from your cannabis related income?
  • If cannabis was legalised how many people including yourself would you be able to

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