Don’t Panic About What Version of the Cannabis Bill Has Been Circulated: It Still Fundamentally Allows Private Cultivation Even Though the Wording is Dodge.
There was anxiety in cannabis stakeholder circles this week when it appeared that the right to grow cannabis privately had somehow been left out of the Cannabis Bill. This was because of certain text adjustments to the Bill, but now it appears that the rights of home-growers are covered elsewhere in the Bill.
20 January 2024 at 06:00:00
Harambe Solutions Brett Pollack first raised the issue when on Thursday, 18 January 2024, he realized that “that the seminal constitutional human right to privately cultivate Cannabis (granted by the Prince Constitutional Court in 2018) was dropped from the text – the Preamble and clause 2(1) – of the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill. These are the provisions that positively entrenched this right, in accordance with the judgment and order of the Constitutional Court.”
He told Cannabiz Africa: “We were enraged when we realised that the entrenchment and positive statement of this right was somehow dropped from the text of the Bill that was passed onto the National Council of Provinces. We still are dumbfounded by it and believe it critical to insist on its simple re-instatement”.
Pollack believes the legislative situation is not as dire as reflected by Cannabiz Africa in this week’s newsletter and that the rights for home-growers is covered in another clause. He says it's not so much a crisis, rather an awkwardness in the wording: the right to grow is covered by the prescribed limits, which have yet to be set - or not!
“However, it is true that the Bill implies the cultivation right because clause 4(5) prohibits the cultivation of Cannabis in excess of prescribed limits (to be regulated later) - meaning that cultivation within such limits would be legal.
"So, in our outrage, we got it wrong that the Bill would criminalise private Cannabis cultivation in the absence of its positive re-instatement. So there is no need to panic.
"Ultimately, however, we see no reason to drop the positive entrenchment of this central and hard-fought right.”
The NCOP deadline for public comment on the Bill was close of business on Friday, 19 January 2024.
State lawmakers will allegedly take public comment seriously and enact the necessary changes to enable the Bill to pass constitutional muster.
Cannabiz Africa understands that Parliament hopes to see the Bill enacted into law by September 2024.
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