South Africa’s Journey to Regulating Cannabis Use: The Current Landscape and Potential Impact The journey towards legalizing and regulating cannabis use in South Africa is reaching a crucial juncture as the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill approaches presidential assent.

Despite industry pushback, the bill anticipates significant shifts in how cannabis use is managed and perceived within the nation. As President Cyril Ramaphosa considers the bill for signature, key industry stakeholders, including Rozayne Malyo, co-founder of the Cannabis Development Council of South Africa and a leader at Think Green Consulting, voice their concerns. Particularly, the potential effects on traditional healers and the Rastafari community have spurred talks of petitioning against the legislation or challenging it in court if enacted.

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) has cast a favorable vote, ushering the bill towards the president’s desk, where its constitutionality could be reviewed before potential ratification. The ongoing debate mirrors the societal and legal transformations underway since the Constitutional Court’s decriminalization of cannabis use for adults in 2018. Legal specialists like Paul-Michael Keichel from Cullinan & Associates provide insights into the bill’s ramifications, noting a pivotal redefinition of cannabis that carves out a distinct hemp category.

This key change aims to unlock a burgeoning hemp industry, fostering investment and clarifying legal distinctions. Further intricacies include cannabis-related offenses being redefined under the new bill instead of the current Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act. Issues like the regulation of medicinal cannabis use in children, punishment for dealing, and the yet-to-be-determined threshold for possession are all topics awaiting clarification under the proposed law. As the bill omits the detailed regulations on possession limits from earlier drafts, the industry anticipates additional regulations to articulate specifics on cultivation, storage, and transportation of cannabis. This looming regulation extends to trading licenses and permits that could exempt certain firms from the act’s conditions.

Amidst these developments, Malyo raises significant concerns about the neglect of cultural practices involving cannabis among traditional healers and Rastafarians, potentially foreshadowing future legal challenges. The EFF’s Mbali Dlamini echoes the sentiment that while the bill is a step forward, it’s perceived limitations on economic opportunities derived from cannabis trade may still hinder communities relying on the industry.

As South Africa stands on the brink of cannabis regulation reform, the outcome of this legislative process will significantly impact cannabis use, its cultural implications, and economic prospects across the nation.

Source: Up in smoke? Cannabis industry rallies against bill en route to Ramaphosa | Business (