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“Essentially We’re Looking to Legalize Social Growing Clubs’ says Lidell’s lawyer as THC High Court Date Now Confirmed for 6 June

“Essentially We’re Looking to Legalize Social Growing Clubs’ says Lidell’s lawyer as THC High Court Date Now Confirmed for 6 June

Brett Hilton Barber

5 May 2022, 22:00:00

Allowing only people with access to private property to legally grow cannabis is discriminatory

THC case has implications for all PCC’s

The Haze Club (THC) director Neil Liddell’s application to have private cannabis clubs (PCC’s) declared officially legal has been set down for the Cape High Court for 6 June 2022. This was confirmed to Cannabiz Africa by his lawyer Andrew MacPherson of Ward Brink Attorneys on 4 May 2022, who said he was hoping for resolution after the case had been dragging on for months.


“Our argument is that the way the THC private cannabis club model was implemented did not break any law and the criminal case should be dropped. That would create a precedent that the THC model was legal.”  He said If the court went in this direction it would  immediately bring legal clarity to the other 40 or so allegedly legal PCC’s believed to be operating in the country. He said that if the court found against the application, the Constitutional Court was the next option to “cure a constitutional defect in the law”.

Danger that PCC’s could be stuck in legal grey zone for years

MacPherson said there was a danger that the legal status of PCC’s could remain in a grey zone for years until such time as new over-arching cannabis legislation was introduced as envisaged in the National Cannabis Master Plan (NCMP). 


Liddell understands how painfully slow the law crawls.  has It has already been almost 18 months and four postponed court dates since Liddell was charged for dealing in cannabis even though he claims that the grow op for his THC PCC was completely compliant with all existing laws. And while his life has been put on hold, with the threat of jail time hanging over his head, PCC’s elsewhere in the country have been flourishing, almost all with the clearance of the local police station commander.

Allowing only people with access to private property to legally grow cannabis is discriminatory

“Essentially we’re looking to legalize social growing clubs where people can grow on behalf of other people who can’t. Prince 3 (The 2018 Constitutional Court ruling that consuming cannabis in private was not against the Constitution) deals with the general law of application. If a law doesn’t apply equally to all people then it’s discriminatory. Allowing only people with access to private property to be able to legally grow cannabis discriminates against people who have no such access.


“The social growing club is modelled on the community garden concept, where for instance in rural villages some members of the community specialize in growing vegetables on behalf of the wider group. The same should apply to cannabis. Not everyone can grow or is in a position to grow. What about the homeless and the handicapped? Many professionals, such as doctors working double shifts, would love to grow their own cannabis but don’t have the time and not everyone has the expertise. It makes sense for PCC’s to legally fulfill that gap by growing cannabis in a regulated way for a closed group of members and a binding constitution.

No place for PCC’s in new Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill

Senior State Law Advisor Sarel Robbertze sees no place for private cannabis clubs in the amended Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill. He told Parliament’s Justice and Correctional Services Portfolio Committee on 23 November 2021, that he had considered incorporating the model into the Bill but decided against it – because it would be too burdensome on the state to police!


He said: “We acknowledge that in certain jurisdictions private cannabis clubs are allowed in respect of the private use of cannabis. We did consider that but it would require substantial regulatory oversight, inspection of facilities and compliance over strains. It is our submission that it is unpractical in the South African situation to provide for cannabis clubs.”


He said the same would apply to community grow-ops. These would be too complicated to police and could be subject to multiple offences and duplicate reporting. “It therefore cannot be accommodated” and were not considered options.


“What if you have one man with four kilograms who says he’s growing on behalf of three others? This will create problems for law enforcement.

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