Sadly, cannabis is not yet technically legal in South Africa.
It has been decriminalised for personal and private use, though, which is why you can now drive around with zol in your car, but not liquor.
My, how times have changed.
Just what constitutes ‘personal and private use’ has yet to be cleared up, and the Regulation of Cannabis Bill, drafted by the ministry of justice back in January, and leaked in February, did contain various figures.
600 grams of dried cannabis in the privacy of your home for personal use, a maximum of 1 200 grams per household with two or more adults living in it, and public possession of a maximum of 60 grams of dried cannabis.
Progress on that Cannabis Bill has now stalled, due in large part to the coronavirus pandemic, reports the Mail & Guardian:
The delays in promulgating the Regulation of Cannabis Bill and additional changes to the Medicine and Related Substances Control Act mean the state will not meet the September 2020 deadline set by the Constitutional Court in the 2018 judgment declaring the prohibition on cannabis cultivation, possession and use unconstitutional.
This week the department of justice and constitutional development’s spokesperson, Chrispin Phiri, confirmed the delay in passing the Bill…
As things stand, the Bill has had input from various governmental departments, the police, and national prosecuting authorities, and it has yet to opened up for public comment.
Both President Rampahosa and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni have publicly supported the commercialisation of the cannabis industry, incorporating illegal commercial growers into a formalised cannabis economy.
We could use the additional tax revenue, especially in light of how much is being lost through the banning of alcohol and tobacco sale during the lockdown thus far.
Paul-Michael Keichel of Schindlers, a legal firm in Johannesburg which specialises in cannabis-related matters, says there is still much to be ironed out:
“We do not really have insight into what the government is planning as a whole. We are reasonably certain, however, that different departments, for example agriculture, fisheries and land reform, and trade and industry, are pushing for the rolling out of hemp and even cannabis proper, whereas health and justice, or at least certain vocal people within them, are far less keen. Government is yet to speak with one voice,” Keichel said.
It would be “‘short-sighted” for the government to allow people to grow, use and share cannabis privately, but then refuse to formalise an industry that could create many jobs and bring in significant tax revenue.
Phiri says our lockdown regulations have affected the sitting of parliamentary committees, as well as the process of inviting public participation.
Medical cannabis growing operations are already open in various parts of the country, and we can only hope it’s a matter of time before the floodgates are opened completely.
You can read the full Mail & Guardian report here.
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