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SilverLeaf Investments plants its first investment seed locally

SA’s first cannabis fund invests in local medicinal grow-op

The seed has been planted and South Africa’s first cannabis fund creates its opening investment into a local medicinal cannabis facility.

The SilverLeaf Fund Management team has made incredible progress in a short space of time and through due diligence and investor committee approval the company enters a joint venture with Druids Garden, one of South Africa’s leading medicinal cannabis cultivars and the first to secure a multi-year international supply agreement with an Australian pharmaceutical company.

“The investment is assisting our growth and ability to meet our existing take-off agreements”.
says Cian McClelland', CEO and co-owner of Druids Garden.

“SilverLeaf Investments is the last Section J12 fund to launch in the SA market and appears to be the first to invest in 2021, creating excitement for those who have jumped onto this green bandwagon”, said Pierre van der Hoven and Clifford Giesenow, Joint CEO’s of this new, dynamic fund. “We are really pleased to partner with one of only a handful of SA-based Medicinal Cannabis Cultivars who are licensed by SAHPRA themselves to tackle the many opportunities to export world class products across the globe”.

Druids Garden

Druids Garden, where the investment will be spent, is a Health and Wellness company that was formally established in 2017 to grow and harvest endangered plants used in African Traditional Medicine.

Druids Garden, Druids Grow, Druids Extracts and the Druids Garden Retreat are subsidiaries of Druids Holdings (Pty) Ltd, registered in South Africa. The company brings together more than 30 years of growing and cultivation experience plus 10 years of African and Asian medicinal extract and manufacture experience.

Druids Garden applied for a hemp research and development permit to cultivate, produce, and conduct commercial research trials on CBD products. This permit was granted in April 2019. The company developed their own genetics and experimented with local and hybrid international strains from seed to final products such as oral drops and topical creams. Then applying for their SAHPRA medical grand cannabis cultivation license in late 2018 a whirlwind journey of rapid learning about medical compliance requirements began. This license was finally awarded in February 2021.

Agri-technology is a green light

The employment of cutting-edge agri-technology to control and monitor climatic conditions, CO2 levels, irrigation, and nutrient utilization is one positive aspect of our progress. This enables the deployment of automated track and trace systems that document the plant's whole life cycle, from seed/clone breeding to final consumer product. Every action that takes place at the Druid's Garden facility requires quality control and standard operating procedures (SOPs) to meet excellence goals.

The data is saved on blockchain and may be accessed by a wholesaler or end user by scanning a bar or QR code. This traceability is essential for quality monitoring and is currently a legal requirement in several countries. This assists the ability to obtain international and local contracts and is needed for sustainability.

Job creation and expansion through cannabis

This venture allows for a new tunnel which means that Druids Garden will employ two more growers and two more trimmers locally. The most notable metric of growth for the company being the fact that they have started to export their goods to Australia. “We have passed most of our Australian Therapeutic Goods Authority GMPO audit and are waiting for our new H-Vac system to be signed off that is merely procedural. We will be the first cannabis company in South Africa to get TGA certification”.

“The upside is that the TGA certification will allow Druids to supply medical grade flower anywhere in the world. Something that most local cannabis farmers though they could do, but then realized that they were not compliant to international standards and could therefore not sell their flower or oil.Research, quality, and consistency are paramount to success with medical cannabis and it is only because we put so much effort into them that we have managed to grow sustainably” says Cian. The industry is changing and growing daily, of course it is positively impacted by investments that professionalise operations for all. This investment springs a vote of confidence into the local industry and the ripple effects will be felt. The interest remains high and various investors are reaching out about green opportunities and potential.

Is this the miracle our country needs?

This miraculous plant not only can be used for medicine, but it can also be used for food, construction, biofuels, bio-friendly plastic, paper, board, textiles for clothing, canvas, and rope, and a variety of consumer health and beauty products. Given the optimal environmental conditions, if the government can enable and regulate the industry in accordance with governments around the world, the SA cannabis industry will thrive.

It is long overdue to address employment issues and provide hope for rural economic development in South Africa. There is a sizable domestic market, as well as a much larger worldwide market, that is becoming increasingly interested in high-quality African products. There are all the ingredients in place to build a robust local market and become global leaders in cannabis. The industry needs to work hard to maintain consumer confidence in the quality and consistency of our Proudly South African cannabis goods.

It is fundamental for the industry's growth that stakeholders collaborate, learn, and teach so that cannabis can help our country's socio-economic sustainable development.