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CAG: “If You Don’t Know What Cannabis Is, Why Don’t You Just Google It?”; Lawmakers’ Insane Wording “Wouldn’t Pass Standard 6 English!”

So what is cannabis?  Don’t ask the government as it doesn’t have a clue – but will give you a million words!

This question has been an interesting thread in the underlying parliamentary discussions on the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill and for legal purposes is obviously important.


Definitions so complicated has to be insane

The answer is not as simple as it may seem. In fact, André du Plessis of the Cannabis Action Group (CAG) told MP’s “the definition of cannabis has become so complicated that it is insane. It now includes exclusions to the point where it has become complete and utter nonsense”.   He was addressing the Justice and Correctional Services Parliamentary Portfolio Committee public hearing on 31 August 2021.

“If you want to know what cannabis is, why don’t you just Google it?” he asked. 

The Googled Oxford Dictionary definition of Cannabis sativa is “a tall plant with a stiff upright stem, divided serrated leaves, and glandular hairs. It is used to produce hemp fibre and as a drug”.

André du Plessis said this wouldn’t be a bad starting point for legislators who had tied themselves in knots trying to come up with cannabis regulations. He challenged those responsible for the wording of the 22 May 2020 gazetted amendments to the Medicines Act to “hang their heads in shame” and explain themselves. “They clearly have no clue what they’re talking about; they are unintelligible and would fail Standard 6 English”.

{Editors note: By way of example, Schedule 6 kicks off with the following clarity of purpose:   “All preparations or mixtures of such substances containing or purporting to contain substances that is chemically related and incorporates a structural fragment into it structure that is similar to the structure of a listed substance and/or exhibits pharmocodynamic properties similar to the listed substance referred to in this Schedule include the following (unless expressly excluded or unless listed in another Schedule)”. Huh?}


THC and CBD levels not based on any scientific evidence

Du Plessis bemoaned the fact that probably over R1 billion had been spent on cannabis research in South Africa since 1999 and yet the Department of Agriculture (DALRRD) was cutting and pasting Colorado hemp statistics to prove that hemp farming in South Africa was viable.

“We don’t really know what our yield per hectare is or what our input costs are” he said, adding that hemp farming might not be viable because climatic conditions boosted THC levels.

Du Plessis and many other speakers made the point that the THC and CBD limits gazetted were entirely arbitrary and not based on scientific fact.  He said that the National Cannabis Master Plan (NCMP) and the Bill were at odds with each other and that the CAG “vehemently” opposed both as they were unconstitutional and out of touch with reality and relied too much on non-African research.


SA should set its own cannabis rules – and include the public in drafting a new bill

“South Africa should set its own regulations on cannabis and engage in public participation to come up with a new bill – with a proper and correct definition – and remove it from the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act.

His parting shot was to tell parliamentarians they had to shoulder some of the blame for the recent explosion in the black market in cannabis. “Parliament failed to legislate as instructed to do so two years ago by the Constitutional Court”.



One Response

  1. Come on Gentlemen
    Regulation has been tried and tested, successfully, by a number of global players for the last decade.
    Copy and paste and we’ll all stop bickering unnecessarily.

    Is about time the recreational side was taken seriously.
    The majority sort Marijuana legalisation for recreational use and not because of its healing values.

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