South Africa: National Assembly finally gives Cannabis Bill the green light

The Citizen reports

The Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill which has been gathering dust since 2018, was adopted by the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The National Assembly’s decision to adopt the bill has finally stubbed out a five-year-long lull which followed the groundbreaking 2018 Prince judgment of the Constitutional Court decriminalising the private use of cannabis.

The ANC, DA, IFP, EFF, NFP and PAC supported the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill, while the FF+ and the ACDP opposed it during the National Assembly’s hybrid plenary on Tuesday afternoon, 14 November.

Cannabis Bill: ‘If you want to smoke it, you have to grow it’

DA MP Janho Engelbrecht, who spoke on the bill in the National Assembly, stressed that adults will be allowed to use cannabis only in their homes.

“People should bear in mind what this bill is about. It is about cannabis for private use by adults. You are not allowed to buy or sell cannabis, because this still remains a criminal activity with severe consequences. If you want to smoke it, you have to grow it, don’t buy it,” he said.

According to BusinessLIVE, the bill also provides for the expungement of criminal records of those convicted of possession, use or dealing in cannabis based on presumption.

The bill will now be transferred to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.

Bill redrafted

The original bill tabled by the Department of Justice, has however been significantly redrafted by Parliament’s Justice Committee.

The bill adopted by the National Assembly does not specify the quantities of cannabis plants and dried cannabis that a person may possess for private use.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola has been tasked to draw up these regulations which will then be submitted to Parliament for approval.


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