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Quinton Mtyala, Assistant Editor, Cape Argus

24/05/31, 07:00

Veteran cannabis activist Gareth Prince, who’s court case ultimately resulted in the historic Constitutional Court judgement legalizing the private consumption of cannabis, says the new Cannabis Act does not go far enough.

In an interview with IOL on 30 May 2024  Prince, who chairs the Cannabis Development Council of South Africa and represents the Rastafarian community on the Presidential Cannabis Steering Committee, said he had reservations about the new Cannabis for Private Purposes Act.


“First, there should have been more consultation with the cannabis community of South Africa. Right now, the act speaks about consumption but does not say anything about cultivation,” he said.


Cannabis users could still fall foul of the law when it came to the consumption and transportation of dagga, he said.

Prince said the seventh Parliament will have to resolve the legal grey areas of the act, and that the Rastafarian community was looking forward to working with legislators to resolve these matters.


“We want the law to promote our indigenous cannabis cultivars, and thereby assist thousands of farmers,” said Prince.


Under the act, adults are permitted to use and cultivate cannabis for personal use within private spaces. Specifically, it allows individuals to possess up to 600g of dried cannabis per person in a private dwelling, with a maximum of 1.2kg per household if more than one adult resides there.


Additionally, individuals can cultivate up to four flowering cannabis plants per person, with a maximum of eight plants per household.


Public consumption remains prohibited, and the act imposes strict penalties on those caught using or displaying cannabis in public spaces.


The sale and distribution of cannabis outside of the regulated framework are also illegal, with significant penalties for offenders.


The act aims to prevent the commercialisation of cannabis while ensuring people can exercise their right to personal use without facing criminal charges.


The act also outlines specific regulations for medical and scientific research on cannabis. Researchers and medical practitioners can apply for licences to cultivate, process, and distribute cannabis for medicinal purposes, under strict regulatory oversight. 


Representing a significant shift in South Africa;s drug policy, the act focuses on harm reduction, public health, and socio-economic development.

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Prince Expresses Reservations Over New Cannabis Act, Says Incoming Govt Has to Clean Up Legislative 'Grey Areas'

Prince Expresses Reservations Over New Cannabis Act, Says Incoming Govt Has to Clean Up Legislative 'Grey Areas'

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