In what was called a ‘National Drug Master Plan’ which was published on the 25th of June, the department said that the new cannabis laws and rules would be in line with the Constitutional Court ruling of 2018 on private use.
Back then, the departments were given 2 years to respond and make changes in line with the ruling, which means the updated legislation should be tabled within the coming months. However, we are aware of the impact that COVID-19 may have on the passing of this legislation in a timely manner.
The department says that a steering department has been established to deal with the amendments cited in the Constitutional Court judgement, with a specific program and plan with time frames to abide by the judgement.
Currently, the relevant departments are in the process of aligning specific sections to copy with the rulings, and also to make sure there is no ambiguity in the possession and private use of cannabis.
This plan will also act as a framework to facilitate an action plan to provide remedies and interventions to be implemented to curb the abuse of cannabis.
Unofficial draft legislation was seen by Mail & Guardian earlier this year, and it indicated that the government will set limits on the amount of cannabis South Africans will be allowed to possess in the privacy of their own homes for personal use.
Government will also likely try to keep some restrictions around the sale of cannabis, both recreationally or for medicinal use.
Cannabis is currently the most widely used illicit drug in South Africa, with an estimated 3.65% of the population between the ages of 15 and 64 using the drug in some form. The data shows that the use of cannabis is widespread amongst all age and income groups, and that various forms are popular for differing reasons.
Hydroponic and indoor produced cannabis is also on the rise amongst the youth and affluent communities according to the Department of Social Development.
There is a trend in the use of smoking or eating different forms of THC, the resin extracted from the plant. This practice is referred to as “dabbing wax:” or “honey”.
What would you like to see included in the new cannabis laws?