By Lucas De Vries

February 24, 2020
Reading Time: 3 minutes

South Africans will be able to possess up to 600 grams of cannabis in the privacy of their own homes. But only for personal use. They may forget to sell their stock legally if the new Cannabis Bill passed in its current form.

The Cannabis Control Bill will provide guidelines on the amount of cannabis that people can grow and possess. But continues to prohibit the medicinal and recreational herb trade.

The bill designed to respond to the September 2018 Constitutional Court ruling that ended the ban on the private cultivation, possession, and consumption of cannabis.

The court gave the government 2 years . To revise the legislation and create a framework for the legal cultivation and possession of the plant.

Draft legislation sent to the National Director of Public Prosecutions. The Ministry of Health, the Treasury and other relevant ministries in October for advice, with a deadline of 31 January.

It will be submitted to Cabinet for approval before being tabled in Parliament. And submitted to the public by the September deadline imposed by the court.

With the legalization of cannabis worldwide. Cannabis activists hoped that the bill would provide for both small- and large-scale commercial cultivation and sale.

According to last year’s report on cannabis in Africa, the cannabis industry in South Africa could be worth more than 107 billion rands once it is fully legalized.

The provincial governments of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape want to move forward with commercial cannabis production and tourism but are unable to do so until the central government creates a legal framework.

The bill

The bill continues to make it a criminal offense to buy or sell cannabis, with prison sentences of up to 10 years remaining in place for trafficking in large quantities of the herb.

Possession of a quantity greater than the individual quantity but less than the trafficked quantity is punishable by a prison sentence of two to six years.

The bill allows for the possession of a maximum of 600 grams of dried cannabis per person, or a maximum of 1,200 grams per household where two or more adults live. One gram of grass is enough for about three joints.

Public possession set at a maximum of 60 g of dried cannabis, but public consumption remains illegal.

In a letter accompanying the bill, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola stated that both the regulatory model and a commercial model considered.

The regulatory model would permit the cultivation and possession of cannabis by individuals for their private and personal use. By determining the amount that can be grown, possessed and used.

Cannabis in south Africa

Mr. Lamola said that although the bill addresses the issues arising from the Constitutional Court. Policy decisions have yet to emerge regarding the quantities that may grow or possess for personal use. The appropriate model that should apply and the effect of the bill or other models for regulating cannabis on South Africa’s international legal obligations.

Paul-Michael Keichel of the law firm Schindlers, which specializes in medical and recreational cannabis law. Said that the bill is “fully in line” with the ruling of the Constitutional Court.

It concerns only personal use or culture. So it does not envisage the commercialization of cannabis,” he said. It is a political decision that has yet to be taken as to whether or not to market it. The judgment does not require that.
Lamola spokesman Crispin Phiri said a bill that “gives effect” to the ruling drafted and was undergoing internal consultation.

The bill, he said, does not deal with the marketing of cannabis or licensing. Which are the responsibility of the relevant departments, including trade and industry, health and social development.

Mr. Phiri indicated that the bill should go through a review process before sending it out to the public for comment. And that its contents would come out once it receives Cabinet approval.

A consultation memorandum circulated with the bill indicated that the implementation of a model for the commercial cultivation and retail sale of cannabis would not constitute a violation of the international drug control regime.

A legal regime would ensure quality cannabis, as well as better education about its effects, and taxes could be levied to provide better health care for problem users, he said.

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