Legal sale remains prohibited
South Africans will be allowed to possess up to 600 g of dried cannabis in the privacy of their homes and only for personal use, however; they may forget to sell their stock legally if the new cannabis bill is passed in its current form.
The Cannabis Regulation Bill, drafted by the Department of Justice, will provide guidelines on the amount of cannabis people can grow and own, but continues to ban the trade in medicinal and recreational herbs.
The bill was designed to respond to the ruling of the Constitutional Court of September 2018 which ended the ban on the private cultivation, possession and consumption of cannabis.
The court gave the government two years to revise the legislation and create a framework for legal cultivation and possession of the plant.
A draft law was sent to the National Director of Public Prosecutions, the Ministry of Health, the Treasury and other relevant ministries in October for opinion, with a deadline set for January 31.
It will be submitted to Cabinet for approval before being tabled in Parliament and submitted to the public, before the September deadline set by the court.
With the legalization of cannabis worldwide, cannabis activists hoped that the bill would provide for small and large-scale commercial cultivation and sale.
According to rapport on cannabis in Africa, released last year, the cannabis industry in South Africa could be worth over 107 billion rand once it is fully legalized.
The provincial governments of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape want to move ahead with commercial cannabis production and tourism, but are unable to do so until the central government creates a legal framework.
The bill continues to criminalize the purchase or sale of cannabis, with prison terms of up to 10 years remaining in place for trafficking in large quantities of weed.
Possession of a quantity greater than the individual quantity, but less than the quantity being trafficked, is punishable by a prison sentence of two to six years.
The bill authorizes the possession of a maximum of 600 g of dried cannabis per person, or a maximum of 1200 g per household where two or more adults live. One gram of grass is enough for about three joints.
Public possession is set at a maximum of 60 g of dried cannabis, but consumption in public remains illegal.
In a letter accompanying the project, Minister of Justice Ronald Lamola said that both the regulatory model - as described in the bill - and a business model were being considered.
The regulatory model would allow the cultivation and possession of cannabis by individuals for their private and personal use, by determining the amount that can be cultivated, owned and used.
Mr. Lamola said that although the bill addresses the issues raised by the Constitutional Court, political decisions have yet to be made regarding the quantities that can be grown or owned for personal use, the appropriate model that should be put in place. and the effect of the bill or other models of cannabis regulation on the international legal obligations of South Africa.
Paul-Michael Keichel, of the law firm Schindlers, specializing in the law of cannabis for medical and recreational use, said the bill was "fully consistent" with the ruling of the Constitutional Court.
“It only concerns personal use or culture. He is not considering the marketing of cannabis, "he said. “This is a political decision that has yet to be made regarding marketing or not. The judgment does not require that ”.
Lamola spokesman Crispin Phiri said a bill that “gives effect” to the judgment had been drafted and was under internal consultation.
The bill, he said, does not deal with the marketing of cannabis or the granting of licenses, which are the responsibility of the departments concerned, including commerce and industry, health and social development. .
Phiri said the bill would be revised before being sent to the public for comment and that its contents would be released once it has been approved by cabinet.
A consultation memorandum released with the bill indicates that the implementation of a commercial cannabis cultivation and retail model would not constitute a violation of the international drug control regime.
A legal regime would guarantee quality cannabis, as well as better education about its effects, and taxes could be levied to provide better health care to problem users, he said. declared.