Friday, 01 April 2022 09:10

Government plans to introduce massive changes into the cannabis laws.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services have extended the scope of the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill to cover a wider range of issues.

The draft bill, which was published for public comment in September 2020, outlines possession rules for cannabis users at home and people who wish to cultivate the plant.

While the main focus of the bill will remain on the private use of cannabis, the portfolio committee has extended the subject of the bill to:

  • Provide for commercial activities in respect of recreational cannabis;
  • Provide for the cultivation, possession and supply of cannabis plants and cannabis by organisations for religious and cultural purposes on behalf of their members; and
  • Respect the right to privacy of an adult person to use cannabis for palliation or medication.

With the national assembly approving these additions on Thursday (31 March), the bill will now be published for a second round of public participation.

Cannabis for private purposes 

The draft bill outlines possession rules for cannabis users at home and people who wish to cultivate the plant. It also introduces new offences and provisions for people who previously received a criminal record for cannabis possession.

The draft bill states that an adult person may for personal use:

  • Possess the prescribed quantity of cannabis plant cultivation material;
  • Cultivate the prescribed quantity of cannabis plants in a private place;
  • Possess in private the prescribed quantity of cannabis in a public place;
  • Possess the prescribed quantity of cannabis in a private place;
  • Possess in private the prescribed quantity of cannabis plants in a public place.

The bill defines a 'private place' as any place, including a building, house, room, shed, hut, tent, mobile home, caravan, boat or land or any portion thereof, to which the public does not have access as of right.

The draft legislation also states that an adult person may, without the exchange of remuneration provide to, or obtain from, another adult person, for personal use the prescribed quantity of:

  • Cannabis plant cultivation material;
  • Cannabis plants;
  • Cannabis.