Legislative Crisis Looms As Wrong Version of Cannabis Bill Circulated for Stakeholders Comment
The deadline for public comment on the Cannabis Bill is the end of business on 19 January 2024, but a major legislative bungle has prompted stakeholders to call for the NCOP deadline to be pushed out an extra week.
19 January 2024 at 07:00:00
Brett Pollack of Harambe Solutions says the version of the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill being circulated by the National Council of Provinces for public comment is different from the one passed by the National Assembly.
He says several key omissions continue to make the Bill unconstitutional.
Cannabiz Africa understands he was in contact with Parliament’s committee secretary (SC Security and Justice) Gurshwyn Dixon on Thursday, 18 January 2024 to get the right version published for public comment. He was also seeking a week-long extension for comment once the right version of the Bill was circulated to stakeholders.
This is yesterday morning’s correspondence from Pollack to Dixon, pointing out the error, which he says is “appalling and potentially disastrous”.
“As suspected, the same omission appears in the version you have sent. There has been a major clerical or other error. The version of the Bill that was passed by the NA, indeed the core rights conferred by the Prince 3 judgment were the private cultivation, and use and possession by adults.
The Bill’s unconstitutionality in both substance and process is now automatic. This is not something we should be making submissions on. The right of an adult to privately cultivate cannabis lies at the absolute core of the rights conferred by the Constitutional Court in Prince 3 – see point 11 of the order and the perhaps hundreds of other iterations throughout the judgment. The omission of this right from the cluster of Cannabis rights conferred re-criminalises the entire community, sending us back into the deepest and darkest corners of the prohibitionists Cannabis era.
We therefore urgently request that the Select Committee republishes the B version of Bill 19-2020 with the word ‘cultivate’ in both the first bullet of the Preamble and in clause 2(1) – as below – prior to receiving submissions and, to these ends therefore, urgently extend the deadline for submissions by at least 7 days.
* respect the right to privacy of an adult person to use, possess or cultivate cannabis;”
“An adult person may—
(a) use, possess or cultivate cannabis; and
(b) without the exchange of consideration per occasion provide to, or obtain from, another adult person, cannabis,in a private place for a private purpose.”
Confusion over which version of the Bill was being circulated for public comment was first aired by Fields of Green for All in October last year already.
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