Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill drawn up

Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill drawn up
13 Aug 2020

The Draft Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill is heading for parliament.

At a virtual meeting this week, cabinet approved the draft bill for tabling in parliament.

According to the cabinet statement, the draft bill gives effect to a Constitutional Court judgement that declared unconstitutional some parts of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act of 1992 and Medicines and Related Substances Control Act of 1965.

Parliament was given 24 months to correct the relevant sections.

The draft bill regulates the use and possession of cannabis and the cultivation of cannabis plants by an adult for personal use.

It also provides the limit of the quantity of cannabis that may be possessed by an adult and criminalizes the smoking of cannabis in public places.

Drawn up by the justice and constitutional development department, the proposed legislation aims to respect the right to privacy of an adult person to possess cannabis plant cultivation material; cultivate a prescribed quantity of cannabis plants; possess a prescribed quantity of cannabis; and to consume cannabis.

The draft bill also aims to:

  • regulate the possession of cannabis plant cultivation material; the cultivation of cannabis plants; the possession of cannabis; and the consumption of cannabis by an adult person;
  • protect adults and children against the harms of cannabis;
  • provide for the expungement of criminal records of persons convicted of possession or use of cannabis;
  • delete and amend provisions of certain laws; and
  • provide for matters connected therewith.

The draft bill’s explanatory summary has been published in Government Gazette 43595.

Other draft bills recently approved by cabinet for tabling include the Draft Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Bill; Draft Domestic Violence Amendment Bill and the Draft Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Bill.

According to the cabinet statement, the draft bills respond to a number of issues raised during the Presidential Summit Against Gender Based Violence and Femicide held in 2018 in respect of the criminal justice system.

The amendments also provide a victim-centred response in the criminal justice system to sexual offences.

The department sought comment on the draft bills in March 2020.

The four draft bills have not yet been tabled in parliament.

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(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
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