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Fields of Green for All Launches Cannabis Regulatory Manifesto, Calls for Public to Participate in Drafting New Laws

South Africa’s leading cannabis organization, Fields of Green for All, has drawn up a draft legal and regulatory framework for the country. It has also demanded that the government establish a clear public participatory process in drawing up new cannabis laws. 

It suggested that this could take the form of a public commission of inquiry.

 

Fields of Green for All: Collective approach to drafting new cannabis laws

 

Full Spectrum Manifesto for Policy Reform

FGFA says although government is in the process of legalizing cannabis, there are still numerous court cases in which it is persecuting cannabis users.  FGFA, which was at the 

forefront of lobbying the Constitutional Court to decriminalize cannabis, has now done the government’s work for it by drafting its Full Spectrum Manifesto for Policy Reform.  

The Manifesto, which has had wide input from industry professionals, has been released in sections over the past few weeks on “Manifesto Mondays” with the last download due to be released on Monday 15 March 2021.

The FGFA says a public debate about cannabis legalization should be followed up with a new drugs education policy in schools that would reflect new legal realities.  It has called for the creation of an Office of the Cannabis Ombudsman to ensure that evidence-based education takes place across society.

The network said on its website on 8 March 2021 that “the government is still fighting the legalised regulation of Cannabis in South Africa in court and the authors of this document are, in various ways, plaintiffs in these court cases. We know there are already various stakeholders advocating for an end to cannabis prohibition and fair regulation in discussions with the government. This is indicative of the contradictions at play. Why has the government not withdrawn their opposition in The Trial of the Plant? This would indicate their willingness to consider both the harms of prohibition and the existence of a thriving, sustainable cannabis industry that is already in place.” 

 

Cannabis Commission of Inquiry?

It is for this reason that we are demanding a comprehensive and inclusive process of discussions around the legal regulation of Cannabis in South Africa – maybe a full commission of inquiry that actually HEARS the evidence underlying our work in this Manifesto? 

“This very real threat manifested itself in the draft Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill, released in 2020. This “Bill” attempts to attach limits for the amount its authors perceived as sufficient for personal cultivation and use, without basing these limits on any concrete evidence. It does not consider the evidence around the various delivery methods of cannabis and the amounts required. Neither does it show any recognition for the illogical grey areas it creates by keeping trade illegal. Fields of Green for ALL has submitted our commentary on the “Bill” and we would like to note here too that the intensive list of penalties faced by transgressors will only perpetuate the status quo. The document makes no sense and the lack of research behind its formation is obvious. Therefore, the matter will most probably have to return to Court for a consideration of the real evidence. “

 

How can there be an evidence-based cannabis policy with no-evidence?

It says the government remains woefully misinformed about cannabis  and the police continue to arrest people for cannabis possession even though legalization is on the cards. Their ignorance, says FGFA “was reinforced by our Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, stating publicly that cannabis is a “gateway drug” , one of the pieces of gross misinformation and drug-war propaganda that we were at pains to dispel in The Trial of the Plant.

FGFSA says a public participation process in legalizing cannabis would not only educate the government, but would open up the full spectrum of opportunities offered by the plant. It said there were opportunities in bioprospecting, research and harm-prevention as well more obvious ‘touching the plant’ businesses. These could be identified through a commission of inquiry which could call for whatever evidence it wanted in order to come up with a comprehensive cannabis policy for the country.

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