Cannabis Bill: Justice committee calls for comment

The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services have, on Wednesday 9 September, invited stakeholders and interested parties to submit written submissions on the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE CANNABIS BILL? 


According to the committee, the purpose of the recognition of the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill is to respect the right to privacy of an adult to possess cannabis plant cultivation material, to cultivate a prescribed quantity of cannabis plants, to possess a prescribed quantity of cannabis and to smoke and consume it.


The bill further aims to regulate the possession of cannabis plant cultivation material; the cultivation of cannabis plants, the possession of cannabis and the smoking and consumption of cannabis by an adult, protect adults and children against the harm of cannabis and provide for the expungement of criminal records of persons convicted of possession or use of cannabis.

HERE'S HOW ONE CAN MAKE A SUBMISSION 


Submissions must be received by no later than 9 October 2020 — exactly one month from Wednesday. 


"Please indicate your interest in making a verbal presentation," it said in a statement.  


Enquiries must be directed to Mr V Ramaano. Submissions must be emailed to cannabisbill@parliament.gov.za Copies of the Bill may be obtained from Mr V Ramaano.  021-403-3820 or 083-709-8427 or www.parliament.gov.za. 


Presenting the Bill on Friday 4 September, the Department of Justice reviewed the changes that would come into effect. Parliament now has until 17 September to determine their final ruling on the proposed amendments, however, should they fail to submit by the deadline, the Bill can still be passed to ensure that any defective constitutional interpretation is properly mitigated. 

SOME LAW EXPERTS WARY OF THE BILL 


Some law experts believe that these regulatory considerations may be too restrictive with regards to a possible emergence of a booming cannabis industry. Andrew MacPherson, Senior Associate in the Dispute Resolution practise at Commercial law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, said that the bill is too narrow in terms of its allowance for economic growth potential.


"This is disappointing as the deferment to the Legislature of the relevant legislation for re-drafting presented the best opportunity yet for those responsible for drafting the laws of South Africa to rethink and reimagine the laws surrounding cannabis," he said. 


"The potential to generate tax revenue, create jobs, and produce environmentally-friendly, sustainable and cost-effective building and manufacturing products and textiles, which the wholesale legalisation of commercial cannabis would present, now appears to have been discarded by the relevant parliamentarians."

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