There’s a little less than a year left for the government to make their changes to the dagga laws. A large grey cloud still looms over cannabis in South Africa, with many being a little unsure of what is actually allowed and what isn’t.
Police are another group who seem to need further classification on the laws, as they are still busting people for growing a few pot plants on their private property. While many are left asking questions such as:
– “How much can I have on me at any given time?”
– “Can I travel with weed in my car?”
– “Are the police allowed to physically search me for marijuana?”
– “Can you carry weed on you for a local flight?”
These and many more questions have been left unanswered.
While the government are putting together the final legislation on cannabis, the industry in SA is taking off. Recreational smoke shops are opening up, providing accessories and paraphernalia related to cannabis. Doctors are gearing up for the hopeful arrival of a medical cannabis market. Grow clubs are opening up, growing bud on behalf of their members. Dealers are even preparing for a legal space in which they will have to compete with each other and the possibility of dispensaries, and let’s not forget that farms are renting out their land for the introduction of cannabis farms!
So is the industry moving at a faster rate than the speed at which decriminalisation and legalisation are happening? I think it is safe to say YES! The local cannabis community and industry have been waiting at the ready. For years they have been gathering the resources they need to make a living in this industry they hold dear to their hearts.
This may present a few problems though. This gap in the pace of the legislation and the rate in which the industry is growing will inevitably cause even more grey areas. As the industry moves and acts as they see necessary, could the changes in legislation after the fact come back to bite them?
Those owning and operating paraphernalia stores – could they get in trouble for doing so in the future? Will those providing grow mediums such as specialised soils end up being told not to do so? Those selling rosin presses, will this still be legal in 12 months time? These are just some of the broader issues that the local cannabis industry may end up having to think about.
That is the exact purpose of the ‘probation’ periods at the end of the day. The government has implemented these changes on a temporary basis so they may generate an understanding of how the industry will function, change and adapt. So they can, hopefully, make smart decisions and allow the industry to flourish in a regulated market.
Many of those involved in the cannabis industry are hoping for a smooth ride, but seeing as this is South Africa – it is highly unlikely. Patience may be required and the industry should try not to get too far ahead of itself. The dagga laws changing, but at a much slower pace than the industry itself.
If you ain’t chokin’, you ain’t tokin’
– Stoner Steve