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State Lawyer’s Last-Minute Concession Strengthens THC High Court Application for Unambiguous Legal Recognition of PCC’s

THC High Court hearing finally due after a year of delays

The Cape High Court is finally due to hear an application on Monday 6 June 2022 by The Haze Club (THC) director Neill Liddell to have Private Cannabis Clubs (PCC’s) legally recognized by Government. The application is being opposed by the State.

The hearing has been postponed several times over the last year and results from Liddell’s arrest in Cape Town in October 2020. Prosecutors agreed to hold off on proceeding with charges after Liddell’s lawyers argued that High Court clarity was necessary to give all parties legal guidance.  

The State’s position is that the PCC model is inherently illegal and provides a front for dealing in cannabis. Liddell’s argument is that THC was 100% legal in terms of the 2018 Concourt Ruling allowing consenting adults to consume cannabis in a private space.

Robbertse’s turnaround on PCC’s significant for THC application

The THC High Court application comes just days after a breakthrough moment in Parliament when Senior State Law Advisor Sarel Robbertse conceded that PCC’s may actually play a positive role in cannabis harms reduction and their legality could be incorporated into the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill (CPPB). Robbertse has been given until August 2022 to fix the defects identified in the draft legislation . The softening of his opposition to PCC’s came in the wake of public input to Parliament arguing that PCC’s should be viewed positively and incorporated in the CPPB.
His backdown is significant because Cannabiz Africa can reveal that Robbertse signed an affidavit several months ago, supporting the State’s case against PCC’s. The State’s main witness, as it were, now finds himself holding two contradictory views, whereas the THC application has been consistent in its argument that properly-constituted PCC’s are entirely within the law. Liddell’s lawyer, Andrew MacPherson of Ward Brink Attorneys, says the case goes far beyond the THC application, it is about fighting for the constitutional rights of social grow clubs generally.

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