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‘Racist, Outdated and Unscientific”: Prince and CDCSA on Proposed Cannabis Bill

South African cannabis activist Gareth Prince says the proposed Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill should be torn up and the legal architects should return to the proverbial drawing board. Prince presented the Cannabis Development Council of South Africa’s (CDCSA) submission on the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill on 31 August 2021 to Parliaments’ Justice and Correctional Services Portfolio Committee.

 

Govt should ‘warmly embrace cannabis not give it an impassionate hug’

The CDCSA says the current bill and the National Cannabis Master Plan are “fragmented” and the architects of the bill used narrow legal interpretations to draft the bill which was “racist, outated and unscientific”.   Prince said the bill viewed cannabis as “part of the problem instead of part of the solution”

“Frankly,  cannabis offers the most realistic chance that SA has at empowering its 12 million unemployed people and  lifting them up from the quagmire of poverty, joblessness and desperation.  All of this can be done in a sustainable, reliable and renewable manner if we embrace cannabis in a warm, holistic way, not the reluctant impassionate hug we have in the Bill and Masterplan”. 

He said Parliament was obliged to uphold the 2018 Constitutional Court and to develop a holistic bill of general application. The decision therefore, to only provide for privacy laws showed a gross misunderstanding of its competency and responsibility. 

 

Prince: The proposed cannabis bill ‘condemns us to being followers not leaders’

“The resulting legislation is not allowing us to hit the ground running but to condemns SA to be followers instead of leaders and innovators in the global cannabis space” said Prince. 

The Bill in its current forms still negatively impacted people’s rights to equality, dignity, freedom and privacy in that it still proposed to use the criminal penal code to regulate cannabis. 

“We should not use our society’s most extreme sanction (arrest) to regulate concerns around cannabis. The strain on the correctional services and the inordinate costs of arrest and incarceration for the State would be immediately redressed if cannabis were to be de-scheduled out of the Drugs Act and the Medicines Act”

The CDCSA submission states:

  • We are proposing a single holistic unified cannabis bill that would enable cannabis for food, clothes, shelter, medicines and jobs, for struggling South Africans. 
  • To develop a multi-billion Rand cannabis value chain in South Africa centred around indigenous land race cannabis 
  • Enable the empowerment of small-scale farmers and the development of agro-processing cooperative hubs that meet our developmental agenda 
  • Allow access to cannabis for primary & preventative health care for all those that seek to benefit from the healing attributes of the plant at low price points to be available to the majority of our people and open the market. 

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