With the new Cannabis for Private Purpose Bill still pending finalization, South Africa continues to be in a “legal limbo” with regard to cannabis in South Africa, leaving farmers and private users uncertain about the boundaries of the law.
The bill in question is turning into a topic of controversy among legislators, private groups, and users, according to Myrtle Clarke, the creator of Green for All, who told 702 that the legislative framework is still unclear.
According to Clarke, the draft of the rules that is available for public comment has turned out to be even more unconstitutional than it was before the revisions were made to the bill. Private entity amendments to the bill were not taken into consideration during the drafting process, he added.
Cannabis is lawful to produce and use at home, but trading it is still prohibited unless you have a permit, which is nearly impossible to obtain.
Another flaw in the existing cannabis legal system is that the landmark Constitutional Court decision that sparked the semi-legalization of non-medical usage made no mention of the maximum number of plants one may produce.
Although the proposed measure tries to fix this, everything still takes place in a legal limbo until laws are put in place.
Because of this, Clarke added, there are times when police detain individuals who possess only minor amounts after complaining to the homeowner that they have too many plants.
According to the law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, patients can already purchase and use illegal medicinal cannabis products for legal, therapeutic purposes under the Medicines Act by submitting an application to the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority.
Cannabis can be grown and consumed privately by adults for any purpose, and it can also be purchased for medical use.
A large-scale money grab
Even though policymakers seem eager to prioritize the cannabis “gold rush,” uncertainty surrounding personal use of cannabis still exists.
Even President Cyril Ramaphosa is looking at the marijuana industry, which has the potential to help South Africa overcome some of its economic challenges.
Ramaphosa stated during the State of the Nation Address in February of this year that the government would expedite cannabis sector laws.
He asserted that the government will evaluate the policy and regulatory framework for a number of processes in order to fulfill the “great” potential for investment and job development in industrial hemp and cannabis. He asserted that this would be advantageous for people living in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape in particular.
He asserted that these products, which were formerly raised for a variety of applications, will soon be industrialized because “We want to harness this.”
According to Clarke, this is not quite as straightforward as it first appears because the government is probably exaggerating the opportunities this sector may present.
She argued that it is more crucial for authorities to manage consumer laws initially.
Instead, Clarke added, it appears as though big business or the government is delaying personal commerce for everyone else while they get their “ducks in row” to enter the market.