Hopes for a High Court ruling this month on the legality of private cannabis clubs have been dashed. Lawyers representing The Haze Club (THC) are now hoping to get a court date in the first week of September 2021.
“Unfortunately, we lost our June date due to unforeseen technical complications which have meant that we need to pursue a new date in September which is the soonest that all the parties are available” Andrew MacPherson of Ward Brink Attorneys told Cannabiz Africa on 18 June 2021.
MacPherson said the Minister of Health was joined by the state to the application, presumably because reference is made in the case to the Medicines and Related Substances Act 101 of 1965.
Medicines Control Act. However, to date the Minister has not filed a notice of intention to oppose, nor an answering affidavit.
The High Court application arises from the prosecution of THC director Neil Liddel and another employee who were arrested last year at the club’s grow op in Cape Town.
The THC case has drawn widespread interest in the cannabis industry as it has widespread implications on “recreational” or “adult-use” of marijuana. The Constitutional Court ruled in September 2018 that the private consumption of cannabis was within the confines of the law and gave Parliament two years to enact the necessary legislation.
Parliament missed the deadline and is due to consider the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill during its 2021 session. However, the draft of the bill was widely criticized when it was aired last year on the grounds of absurdity, inconsistency and un-enforcability and is likely to be challenged in court if passed in its current incarnation.
5 Take Out Points from the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill
Commenting on the THC case during a Cheeba webinar on 10 June 2021, cannabis veteran Kobus Schoeman of Tamatie remarked: “It’s almost like we’ve gone back 15 years if government’s attitude is anything to go by, it’s archaic, to put it politely”.
“Poor Neil and them have become scapegoats for the industry. For all we know, when the case finally gets to court the judge may say he wants to see the new laws in place before he makes a decision and this whole thing could drag on for three to five years. The legal system is so bloody complicated”.
The THC case stands in stark contrast to the police approach to Nature’s Farmacy, the winelands private cannabis club that was raided on 9 June 2021. Although four people were arrested they were released without charge and the club is unapologetically back in operation.