Contentions over SA's cannabis Bill

Contentions over SA's cannabis Bill

By Daniel Itai, Johannesburg, South Africa

Since the legalisation of cannabis in 2018, high debates have arisen on whether to rescind the decision or to continue with the amendments of legalising cannabis.

For the past two years government has since drafted a Bill that regulates the consumption and growing of cannabis.

Although the Bill hasn’t yet been publicly approved, some stakeholders of cannabis have already labelled the proposed Bill as stringent.

Since it was legalised, people are only allowed to smoke and use cannabis for their own personal upkeep within their place of residence. The commercial cultivation of cannabis is not yet allowed.

“The issue of the use and cultivation of cannabis is unconstitutional. Cannabis must be seen in the same manner as alcohol and tobacco. It’s totally unconstitutional to arrest people for cultivating cannabis it’s really sad.

It can create jobs, instead of commercialising it they are criminalising it there should be parity just like tobacco and alcohol which are even more harmful,” said Advocate, Ras Gareth Prince.

Jeremy Acton, leader of the Dagga Party is also in contention with the proposed cannabis Bill.

“it’s now going to be listed in the Road Traffic Act which means it will now form part of the substances you are not supposed to take if you are driving which is outrageous.

Another issue is the maximum you are allowed to possess in your home which is 600 grams. Cannabis is not just a drug but a nutritional seed. The government is treating it as if it’s a demonic drug,” said the Dagga party leader.

However, spokesperson of the Ministry of Justice, Constitutional Development and Correctional Services, Chrispin Phiri, downplayed the issue.

“The economic potential of cannabis is quite big but we are regulating the consumption of cannabis. There is no commercialisation of cannabis that’s why we limit the amount one can store at their house. Moreso, it has a psychotic effect,” said Phiri.

Experts have envisaged Africa as the ideal place for growing cannabis for commercial purposes which would emanate into a multi billion dollar industry for Africa.

Already countries like Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Malawi amongst others have already permitted the commercialisation of cannabis which is at this stage for medicinal purposes and industrial use.


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