Cabinet approves bill to regulate private use of cannabis in South Africa

Cabinet has approved the submission of the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill of 2020 to Parliament for processing.

Justice and Correctional Services minister Ronald Lamola said in a media briefing on Thursday (6 August), that the bill will give effect to the Constitutional Court judgement that declared some parts of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act and Medicines and Related Substances Control Act unconstiutional.

“The judgement was suspended for 24 months to allow Parliament to correct those sections,” he said.

“This Bill regulates the use and possession of cannabis and the cultivation of cannabis plants by an adult for personal use.

“It provides the limit of the quantity of cannabis that may be possessed by an adult and criminalizes the smoking of cannabis in public places. ”

The bill will have to face parliamentary consideration and a public consultation process before being signed into law.

In 2018, the Constitutional Court ruled that the use of cannabis is legal for both personal and medical use. However, it is currently still unlawful to use it outside of your private home as well as buying and selling it.

The national drug master plan published in June 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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