Parliament to puff and pass Cannabis Bill

  • Cabinet approved the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill and referred it to Parliament.
  • This bill was ordered by the Constitutional Court.
  • It is unlikely that Parliament will meet the Constitutional Court’s deadline of 24 months. 

In what will give a whole new meaning to the phrase joint committee, Parliament will deal with a bill regulating the private use of cannabis.

At its meeting on Wednesday, Cabinet approved the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill, which will now be tabled in Parliament for processing.

At a press briefing on Thursday, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola said the bill would give effect to a Constitutional Court judgment that declared unconstitutional some parts of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act of 1992.

“The judgment was suspended for 24 months to allow Parliament to correct those sections,” said Lamola.

“This Bill regulates the use and possession of cannabis and the cultivation of cannabis plants by an adult for personal use. It provides the limit of the quantity of cannabis that may be possessed by an adult and criminalizes the smoking of cannabis in public places.”

On 18 September 2018, the highest court in the country upheld a ruling of the Western Cape High Court that it is legal to be in possession of dagga in your private capacity.  

Even if Parliament doesn’t allow any grass to grow underneath its feet, it is unlikely to make the 24-month deadline, given the public participation process it is required to follow.

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