Home South African Cannabis should be seen in the same light as alcohol, State advisor...

Cannabis should be seen in the same light as alcohol, State advisor urges

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The bill aims to respect the right to privacy of an adult person to possess and consume cannabis while protecting adults and children against the harms of cannabis, among others.

FILe PHOTO: Cannabis’ should be regulated similarly to alcohol to be less serious, in respect of offences and appropriate penalties.”

CAPE TOWN – ’Cannabis’ should be regulated similarly to alcohol to be less serious, in respect of offences and appropriate penalties.”

These were the words of State law advisor, advocate Sarel Robbertse, as he presented to the portfolio committee on Justice and Correctional Services through possible revisions to the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill.

The bill aims to respect the right to privacy of an adult person to possess and consume cannabis while protecting adults and children against the harms of cannabis, among others.

It will also provide for the expungement of criminal records of persons convicted of possession or use of cannabis.

In terms of the penalties, the amendments aim to address harsh penalties that may be imposed for certain contraventions of the bill.

“Regulations…may prescribe penalties for any contravention thereof or failure to comply therewith, not exceeding a fine or imprisonment for a period of six months or both a fine and such imprisonment,” proposed amendments read.

The amendment also proposed that the definition of “cannabis” addresses the concerns raised in respect of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.

“We should (not) consider a higher amount than 0.2% of THC, it is the starting point of Hemp specification. One must consider it in the context that will have a limited drug effect on a person,” said Robbertse.

The bill will result in amendments to several acts to include consequences for being under the influence of THC for example while driving.

These Acts include the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act, 1992, the National Road Traffic Act, 1996 and the Child Justice Act, 2008.

In the Traffic Act, amendments will include: “Driving or occupying driver’s seat while under the influence of intoxicating liquor[ or], a drug having narcotic effect or THC, or with excessive amounts of alcohol or THC or a drug having a narcotic effect in blood or breath.”

Meanwhile the Centre for Child Law have also approached the Constitutional Court for the confirmation of the unconstitutionality of section 4(1)(b) of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act 140 of 1992 in so far as it criminalised children who were in possession of and/or used cannabis.

Cape Times

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