PanARMENIAN.Net - Andre Kruger's stand at Africa's first ever cannabis exposition displayed an indoor growing tent, complete with state-of-the-art lighting imported from the United States and fittings for a high-tech hydroponic irrigation system, Reuters reports.
What it didn't have, however, was a cannabis plant.
The four-day expo, which opened in South Africa's capital Pretoria on Thursday, December 13, was a stark illustration of the legal grey area the nascent industry occupies in the continent's most developed economy.
In September, the Constitutional Court decriminalized the use and cultivation of cannabis in private space. But the decision did not legalize its trade or distribution. Even displaying cannabis in public remains legally dubious.
So exhibitors at the expo got creative. Kruger, whose company Sombrero Hydroponics has seen a spike in customer inquiries since September, used two artificial poinsettias as stand-ins.
"People just feel more comfortable now, because they don't have this added thought in the back of their mind thinking, 'What if the cops stop at my house?'" he said. "They're coming out of the closet, in this case the tent."
Hundreds of expo-goers bought tickets and were already queuing before the event opened, but not everyone agreed with the ground rules.