The Cannabis Mass Action Committee is emerging as the voice of non-government stakeholders in the cannabis industry. Cannabis organizations have cast their differences aside to take on the No 1 obstacle to implementing Government's National Cannabis Master Plan. And that is Government itself!
Hundreds of cannabis activists are expected at Parliament and the Union Buildings Saturday 17 September to protest against the slow pace of legalization. The protests mark the date four years ago that Judge Raymond Zondo delivered the historic Constitutional Court judgement that held that the private consumption of cannabis was legal in terms of the Constitution.
Parliament has now missed by two years, the initial Concourt deadline to have an Act enabling their ruling in place. And it appears that the legislative process is spiralling backwards, which has led to a renewed activism in the cannabis community.
The hour-long protests planned in Cape Town and Pretoria have been organized by the recently-formed Cannabis Mass Action Campaign (CMAC), which represents most of the community and private sector cannabis stakeholders.
The CMAC has demanded a formal response from Government to its memorandum, which was addressed to a variety of ministers. As of Friday 16 September 2022 it was unclear as to whether Government will formally accept the memorandum. Cannabiz Africa sources say the Department of Justice has been mandated to play this role although there has been no confirmation from the Department itself.
The key grievances and demands are as follows:
Cannabis legalisation & legal regulation - necessary to unlock the industry and change lives - is disjointed, unfocused, and taking too long.
There are still no solutions - proposed or implemented - for rural legacy farmers. The President’s stated intention for an inclusive Cannabis industry is not supported by the actions of the government and the proposed legislation has resulted in a policy vacuum.
We urgently need this industry to come online for job creation and to bolster our economy - the government does not seem to recognise that the opportunity cost outweighs any purported harms associated with Cannabis use.
The Masterplan process that was developed without public consultation - but did serve to create some structure - has stalled.
To allow for a reasonable trade in Cannabis as a constitutional right for people who do not have access to private space - or the required capability - to cultivate Cannabis.
To stop arresting people for low/no-harm (‘victimless’) crimes.
The protests come against a background of continued Government bungling on cannabis reform, where lack of alignment between different departments has led to a legislative nightmare. Parliament has already missed by two years the Constitutional Court deadline for legislation to enact the private consumption of cannabis, and now it’s about to miss the deadline it was given of amending the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act which was found to be unconstitutional.
This has put both the President’s and Parliament’s reputation at unnecessary risk because of the State’s Legal Development Department incapable of delivering on its basic mandate.