South Africa’s National Assembly has passed the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill and sent it to the National Council of Provinces for consideration, Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapho has confirmed.
SOUTH Africa’s National Assembly has passed the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill and sent it to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for consideration, Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapho confirmed.
The bill was first published in the Government Gazette on August 7, 2020.
It was presented before the National Assembly by the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services and also reportedly received the support from various political parties.
The Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill came to be following the Prince Judgment in 2018 by the Constitutional Court, which recognised that South Africans have the right to possess and consume cannabis in their private spaces.
“The NA passed the bill and sent it to the NCOP for consideration/concurrence. If the NCOP agrees with it and doesn’t make changes, it will be sent to the President for assent. If the NCOP recommends changes then it will come back to the NA for the House to consider those changes,” Mothapho said.
“Once the president assents to it, it will become the act and law.”
The bill was presented before the National Assembly on Tuesday for consideration, with the cannabis and hemp sector being one of the strategic agricultural sectors the government plans on developing.
But the bill has been a long time coming, according to those in the private cannabis communities, who also claim that lawmakers have been dragging their feet with it.
But Parliament said the delays in passing the bill were justified, as authorities wanted to further explore the implications the new law would have on child prosecutions in cases relating to cannabis.
Legal expert from Grow One Africa, Joshua Swart said he was pleased with the progress that was made since the 2018 ruling, but it has “been really slow”.
“With that judgment, Parliament had around 24 months to legislate cannabis into our laws, in which case we are now sitting with the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill. It has obviously been far more than 24 months, but yeah, we are waiting for that bill to be passed,” Swart said.