Why South Africa’s Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill doesn’t make sense
The draft Bill, which was drafted by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, aims to regulate the production, possession, and use of hashish and hashish crops by adults for their own private consumption. The organization also aspires to protect adults and children from the dangers of marijuana use.
There had been high expectations following the Constitutional Court's ruling that hashish could be decriminalised, and that it could be used for private and personal purposes, that the draft Bill would create a framework for enterprise opportunities centered on hashish to flourish. However, this has not been the case.
It is a skewed and traditionalist perspective that is impeding real economic growth.
According to Andrew MacPherson, a senior affiliate with the law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, the draft Bill was disappointing for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, he asserts, the fact that it was created by the Department of Justice and Correctional Services belies a conservative approach to the drafting process throughout its development.
« The primary focus continues to be on restricting access to, and the use of, cannabis under the fear of extremely harsh legal repercussions, such as fines and prison time. »
It is hoped, according to MacPherson, that a joint effort will be undertaken by several departments such as health, agriculture, and finance. In its current form, the draft Bill is small and traditionalist, according to MacPherson, and "does not grant an inch more than was imposed by the Constitutional Court."
There is a lack of clarity regarding commercial legalization.
The draft Bill does not take into consideration the business sides and opportunities provided by marijuana, which could be used to stimulate the economy and close the large gap in the tax revenue shortfall, as well as to keep small businesses afloat in difficult economic times.
A variety of businesses in the industry, ranging from large corporations to start-ups and established businesses, were consulted, and MacPherson discovered that there is an enormous amount of business opportunity, ranging from retail retailers, hashish supplies and merchandise, hashish dispensaries, and companies that provide kits for the DIY cultivation of hashish at home, that is ready to be launched once business legalization is achieved.
Cannabis Clubs Are Permitted
Another one of the many glaring inconsistencies in the draft Bill is that, while it effectively puts a stop to many potential business opportunities, the legal framework continues to allow for hashish members' clubs, such as the Cape Cannabis Club, to operate, and they have experienced significant business growth since their inception.
Members will have the opportunity to have their premium hashish grown in a number of state-of-the-art facilities, after which it will be properly packaged and sent to their private address anywhere in South Africa, according to the terms of the membership.
In addition to the different membership options, the membership also includes the ability to "borrow a little share of a cannabis plant" and to decide how many grams of cannabis you require each month and under what pressure.
As a result, while individuals can grow food at home for their own consumption, they are not permitted to legally acquire the seeds needed to do so.
According to Charl Henning, of the non-profit Fields of Green, these kind of inconsistencies are the result of a lack of awareness and perception on the part of legislators.
“They have the right to govern medicine however they see fit, but the rest of us should be free to grow, trade, and participate in God's plan for our lives. According to him, "the sheer notion of — meaningless and unnecessary — plant counting is in direct conflict with the privacy judgment."
The Bill will be discussed in Parliament with important stakeholders over the next two weeks, and the general public will have until October 9th to express their opinions on the Bill.
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