Marijuana buds are being grown indoors in this image, which shows the warm lights needed to cultivate cannabis. Picture: 123RF/ ERIC LIMON
Marijuana buds are being grown indoors in this image, which shows the warm lights needed to cultivate cannabis. Picture: 123RF/ ERIC LIMON

Cabinet has approved the bill regulating the private use of cannabis and setting the limit of the quantity that may be possessed by an individual. It criminalises the smoking of cannabis in public places.  

Justice minister Ronald Lamola on Thursday said the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill would now be sent to parliament.

The Constitutional Court in 2018 opened the gates for adult South Africans to legally grow and use cannabis privately, while criminalising commercial use despite its potential economic benefits.

A report released in 2019 by Europe-based market intelligence and strategic consultancy Prohibition Partners showed that Africa’s legal cannabis industry could generate more than $7.1bn (R123bn) a year by 2023 if more of the continent’s big markets open up and follow the trend of legalisation seen in the US, Canada and Europe. In SA, the domestic market is expected to be worth almost R30bn by 2023.

The size of the SA medical cannabis market is unknown. However, local businesses are aiming for a slice of the global cannabis market, worth about $150bn, according to the Green Fund. The rapidly growing market could surge to $272bn by 2028, according to projections by global banking group Barclays.

The landmark Constitutional Court judgment by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo unanimously declared that sections of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act and the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act were inconsistent with the constitution.

The court suspended the order of invalidity for 24 months, to allow parliament to deal with the necessary legislation.

The court heard an application for leave to appeal, as well as a confirmation application in November 2017, of a judgment by the high court in Cape Town, which declared the same sections unconstitutional, saying the right to privacy was at the heart of the case.

The top court went one step further than the high court by not limiting the recreational use of cannabis to a person’s private dwelling by saying the right to privacy was not confined to a home or private dwelling.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za

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