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Up in smoke – cannabis regulation stalling

Uncertainty over steps to legalise the personal and commercial use of cannabis has been shrouded in silence.

Up till now, Parliament has still not given any indication or sign on the possible hearings and engagements on cannabis.  

Eighteen months since the constitutional judgement, organized associations advocating for legalization of cannabis issued what is the first draft proposal on cannabis policy.

Under the Fields of Green for All, the nonprofit company proposes 6 foundational policies to guide and sustain the proposed new cannabis regulation. Among the listed priorities, it calls for the new proposed legal framework to respect traditional knowledge and cultural expressions.

“A legal Cannabis framework should seek normalization and alignment, strictly according to relevance and scale of harms, with agricultural, environmental, indigenous, healthcare, tobacco, alcohol and other pre-existing policies. Regulations must respect constitutional rights, and be consistent with other policies.”

Government seemed inertia to follow on the constitutional ruling preferring to stick by the United Nations ratified 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Drugs and the apartheid draconian ‘Abuse of Dependence Producing Substances and Rehabilitation Centres Act of 1971’21.

The latter Act has been responsible for the overwhelming incarceration of black males with the present government fully perpetuating it.

“The repeal of this law, and the rewriting of the offending legislation will give the South African government an opportunity to apologise for continuing to enact an unjust and irrational colonial law on its citizens, since the fall of apartheid in 1994” claimed the non-profit company.

South Africa was ranked in the top 3 Cannabis producing and consuming countries in the world. The cannabis industry alone was estimated to be worth more than R107 billion if the dreams to legalise don’t blow up in smoke.

Globally, Canada was hailed as a shining example for leading the course of legalizing cannabis. It legitmised cannabis in 2018 allowing growers to get licenses from the federal government with provinces deciding how the product could be distributed or sold.

With only a few months left to meet the 24 months deadline set by the Constitutional Court it is understandable why Parliament and government would be faced with such an improbable task.

Parliament would in essence be compelled to amend the laws prohibiting the use, possession and trade of Cannabis such as the Drugs and Drugs Trafficking Act 140 of 1992, Medicines and Related Substances Control Act 101 of 1965 and Section 21 of the Drugs Act.

The Fields of Green for All believed that cannabis regulation was no different from alcohol and tobacco and called for the establishment of a Cannabis Ombudsman once the new regulation took effect.

“All Cannabis regulations must be “tested” against the current laws regulating alcohol and tobacco, but Cannabis must not be regulated in any manner that is harsher than these two more harmful substances” it said.

Up in smoke – cannabis regulation stalling
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