SA Govt Clarifies There Will Be A Delay On Medical Cannabis Legislation, Initial September Deadline 2020 Will Not Be Met

The SA Mail & Guardian reports. Delays in passing new laws governing the possession and use of cannabis, caused by the Covid-19 lockdown, have placed on hold the development of a different kind of green economy mentioned by President Cyril Rampahosa in his February State of the Nation address.

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, a draft of which was circulated to state agencies and government departments for comment and input during January.

In February, the Mail & Guardian reported that a leaked draft of the Bill had presented different options for the legalisation of cannabis, one based on a prohibitive model and the other on commercial model, with government departments being asked to consider the effect of both before making their final submissions.

But the draft itself only went as far as laying down limits for personal use and gave no framework for a commercial cannabis trade.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has subsequently been publicly supportive of the commercial model, which provincial premiers in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape have backed. It would incorporate existing illegal commercial growers into a formalised cannabis economy.

“This year we will open up and regulate the commercial use of hemp products, providing opportunities for small-scale farmers; and formulate policy on the use of cannabis products for medicinal purposes, to build this industry in line with global trends,” the president said in his address.

Phiri said the delays were a result of the Covid-19 lockdown regulations affecting the sitting of parliamentary committees and the ability to hold a public participation process.

Source:  https://mg.co.za/coronavirus-essentials/2020-05-19-legalising-the-cannabis-economy-takes-a-covid-19-hit/

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