Report Says…”South Africa’s cannabis bill is widely unpopular — here’s why”

Mugglehead magazine have published the article

South Africa’s cannabis bill is widely unpopular — here’s why

The report reveals ….The legislation’s steep penalties and confusing rules are a step backward to populations that have used cannabis traditionally for centuries

South Africa’s bill isn’t in the spirit of legalization

The proposed law follows the constitutional judgment to the letter, but not the spirit of legalizing cannabis. Key points of the bill are:

  • it expunges minor criminal convictions;
  • anyone who deals in cannabis or sells it to a child can face up to 15 years in prison;
  • smoking cannabis in public can result in prison time of up to two years, while smoking around children can result in up to four years;
  • people who live alone can have unlimited seeds and seedlings, but a maximum of four flowering plants for personal use’
  • adults in the same household can have a maximum of eight plants for personal use; and
  • a possession limit of 600 grams of dried cannabis for those who live alone, or 1.2 kilograms in homes with two or more adults.

The bill has frustrated advocates. Take Joost, who has been growing dagga for personal use for 30 years. He enjoys the act of cultivation and sharing it with friends. The way Joost sees it, the cannabis bill is a step forward, particularly in the decriminalization of cannabis, but he finds it confusing. Joost’s identity is being protected so he doesn’t face legal consequences.

“Why can an individual have unlimited seeds but only four flowering plants?” he asks. “Is it illegal to share plants with friends?”

The lack of clarity is a point of contention shared by Schindlers Attorneys, a South African firm specializing in cannabis law.

“Why, for example, must an individual without green fingers, or sufficient ‘private space’ (i.e. someone not ’empowered’ to grow their own cannabis) be precluded from approaching their ’empowered’ neighbour to purchase said neighbour’s overflow cannabis (much as one may do with home-grown vegetables)?” the firm wrote in their comments on the bill. “Does the state intend to discriminate against people who are not friendly with other cannabis growers and limit the rights extended in the judgment to those who are?”

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