Mail & Guardian Cannabis - legislation, implications & opportunities
“There are now 33 countries (including Australia, Canada, Spain and Switzerland) around the world that have decriminalised and legalised the use of cannabis.”
“Global cannabis sales are expected to reach over more than USD200B by 2032.”
On 18 September 2018, the Constitutional Court ordered that the private consumption and cultivation of cannabis/marijuana/dagga/hemp be decriminalised.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo handed the judgement, which confirmed that sections 4(b) and 5(b) of the Drugs and Drugs Trafficking read in part with section 22(A)(9)(a)(i) of the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act were constitutionally invalid.
The court noted that the right of privacy was not necessarily limited to a person’s home and its order went broader than the high court judgement, allowing adults to use cannabis in other private places.
However, judgement would immediately
- Decriminalise the use or possession of cannabis by an adult in private for that adult person’s personal consumption in private.
- Decriminalise the cultivation (growth) of cannabis by an adult for that adult’s personal consumption in private.
- Allow discretion of the police officer to determine if an individual carrying cannabis outside of home is using it for personal and private consumption or for dealing. If person is suspected of dealing, the police officer may arrest the person but ultimately, it will be up to the court to decide whether the person in possession of cannabis had the intent to deal it or use it for personal consumption.
So, what happens next for marijuana use in SA after landmark court ruling?
- Parliament will have to determine what quantity of cannabis may be used for private consumption or cultivation.
- Parliament will have to address the constitutional defects in the Drugs Act and Medicines Act in the next 24 months from the date of the judgement.
- Parliament has two years to amend the legislation to bring it in line with the Constitution.
- As required by the Constitution, the public, both business and individuals, will have an opportunity to make submissions during the processes in Parliament.
- If Parliament fails to do so within the period, the order that Zondo handed down will become final.
Implications and Opportunities
There is now tremendous optimism but comes with confusion, speculation and contentious debate on the upcoming amended legislation, regulation, implications and potential business opportunities. In this regard, Mail & Guardian (M&G) will bring the relevant stakeholders - government, private and public sector, businesses, professionals, consultants, legal, academia and civil society to come together to engage and debate on the future of cannabis.
Contact TJ on [email protected] or 11 250 7300 for more information, booking and for group discount.
- What exactly is the definition of a ‘private place’?
- Is the consumer’s car, a festival, a bar or coffee shop, room in university, hotel room etc, where cannabis is available but not for sale, a private place?
- Exactly how much cannabis a person can legally have in possession for personal use?
- What is the clarity on smoking the cannabis and driving?
- How will the police’s standard operation procedures change for dealing with people smoking cannabis or found in possession of it?
- How will government ensure the amended legislation is scientific and not socially driven?
- How will government design a humane and rational system to regulate cannabis?
- There is not enough research to understand the complexity of the substance to say it is safe to use in the long term. Hence, while not every cannabis user experiences harm, there are still risks i.e. withdrawal, addiction. Will there be public teaching on responsible weed smoking?
- How do you protect non-users and prevent harm to others, particularly minors?
- What happens to the existing criminal market i.e. those already arrested for possession of small amounts of cannabis? Can their criminal record be erased?
- Will the amended legislation be forward-thinking?
- Will the health and justice departments consider amending the law to allow for commercialisation of cannabis in South Africa?
- Is there a future of a cannabis industry in South Africa, particularly for medicinal purposes? i.e. selling cannabis same way as alcohol, cannabis bought without prescription at pharmacies.
- Will government unlock the economic potential for commercial cannabis farming, which will lead to employment growth and additional tax revenue?
- Will Parliament now cultivate a rural development strategy based on the industrialisation of cannabis? Will this not uplift the rural poor?
- What are the future business prospects for medical health professionals, agricultural providers and lifestyle brands?
- Can business leverage cannabis to boost tourism in SA?
- Private corporations such as Coca-Cola is already looking at entering the market through using non-psychoactive CBD (cannabidiol) in its wellness beverages. Shouldn’t SA businesses also leverage on such economic opportunity?
- Lesotho’s government has granted a local subsidiary of the South Africa firm Verve Dynamics the right to cultivate, manufacture, supply, export and transport cannabis and cannabis products from Lesotho. What are the lessons learned from Lesotho, where the government legalise medicinal marijuana?
- What are the implications on employers when faced with employees who partake in cannabis?
- Can companies run random drug tests on their employees because employers believe canniabis consumption affects a person’s ability to do their work and also in relations to discipline, incapacity, occupation health and safety liability?
- Pierre van der Hoven, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, AfriCannaBiz
- Dr Mohammed Jeenah, Group Executive: Research & Innovation Systems, Agricultural Research Council (ARC)
- Dr Ahmed Jamalooden, National Treasurer, Cannabis Development Council of South Africa (CDCSA)
- Lawrence Sharpley, Canna Consulting
- Dr Thandeka Kunene, Founder & Chairperson, House of Hemp
- Paul-Michael Keichel, Partner, Schindlers Attorneys
- Griffith Molewa, Manager - Compliance, South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA)
- Adv Tertius Wessels, Legal Director, Strata-G Labour Solutions
- Commercial farming
- Medical, health
- Natural health, oil
- Manufacturing and processing
- Hospitality and tourism
- Private growers
- Department of Health
- Department of Trade and Industry
- Department of Environmental Affairs
- Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
- Department of Agricultural, Forestry & Fisheries
- Agricultural Research Council
- Cannabis Development Council of South Africa (CDCSA)
- Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
- South African Police Service (SAPS)
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