In the latest legalization news the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services’ chairperson; Bulelani Magwanishe, announced the extension of the deadline for public comment on the marijuana bill, aka Cannabis For Private Purposes Bill. South Africans now have until 30 November 2020 to submit their thoughts and comments on the proposed bill.
The initial deadline of 9 October 2020 was set by the landmark Constitutional Court ruling on 18 September 2018. But Parliament has failed to meet the Constitutional Court’s deadline of 24 months to make the necessary legislative amendments for the private possession and use of marijuana. The marijuana bill, which was approved by Cabinet in August, has left stoned citizens of the republic wondering if dagga will ever be fully decriminalized and added to the list of countries where marijuana is legal.
The committee will only start work on the Bill next year because it must first process legislation aimed at strengthening the fight against gender-based violence.
The purpose of the Marijuana Bill
The purpose of the marijuana Bill is to respect the privacy of an adult person; and regulate the possession of cannabis-plant-cultivation material, to cultivate a prescribed quantity of cannabis plants, possess a prescribed quantity of cannabis, consume cannabis, the expungement of criminal records of persons convicted of possession or use of cannabis and to delete and amend provisions with certain laws.
The pencilled marijuana bill currently provides for a 15-year jail term for anyone who deals in cannabis, two-years for smoking in public and up to four-years for smoking in the presence of a child.
The draft cannabis bill sets out limits for use at home, the number of plants allowed to be grown and the amount of dried cannabis flower that can be kept on the premises.
Parliament has the opportunity to produce a sensible, fair and non-discriminatory marijuana bill that removes the cannabis trade from the untaxed, informal sector and allow it to make a significant contribution to the upliftment of rural communities, rejuvenating the South African economy and bulking-up the coffers of the National Treasury.
The justice department has confirmed that the interim relief granted by the Constitutional Court will still be in force until the amendments are enacted by means of a finalized weed bill which has been approved by parliament.
Stoned Citizens say your say! The South African Constitution makes provision for public involvement in lawmaking, oversight and other processes of Parliament. So get your submission drafted, endorsed and mailed to [email protected] before 30 November!