Government working on new cannabis laws for South Africa

 ·26 Jun 2020

The Department of Social Development says that it is in the process of developing new legislation around the possession and use of cannabis in South Africa.

In a ‘national drug master plan‘ published on Thursday (25 June), the department said that the new rules would be in line with the September 2018 Constitutional Court ruling on private use.

At the time, the relevant departments were given 24 months to respond and make changes in line with ruling, meaning the updated legislation should be tabled within the coming months.

“A steering committee has been established to deal with the amendments cited in the Constitutional Court judgement, with a specific program and plan with time frames to abide by the judgement,” the department said.

“Currently the relevant departments as outlined in the ruling are in the process of aligning specific section on the cited legislation to comply with the ruling, and to make sure that there is no ambiguity in the possession and private use of Cannabis.

“The National Drug Master Plan as a framework will also facilitate an action plan and provide remedies and interventions to be implemented to curb Cannabis abuse.”

Unofficial draft legislation seen by the Mail & Guardian earlier this year indicates that government will set limits on the amount of cannabis South Africans will be allowed to possess in the privacy of their homes for personal use.

Government is also likely to keep some restrictions around the selling of the drug – either recreationally or for medicinal uses.

The national drug master plan states that cannabis is currently the most widely used illicit drug in South Africa, with an estimated 3.65% of the population (between the ages of 15-64) using some form of the drug.

The data shows that its use is widespread amongst all age and income groups and that various forms of the drug are popular for different reasons.

“Hydroponic and indoor produced Cannabis is also on the rise amongst the youth and affluent communities,” the Department of Social Development said.

“A newly emerging trend in use is the smoking or eating of different forms of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – a rich resin extracted from the Marijuana plant. Users refer to this practise as ‘dabbing wax’ or ‘honey’.”

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