Weed enthusiasts could soon be dealing with new laws, as a draft Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill has been published by Justice and Correctional Services minister Ronald Lamola.
The bill aims to fill holes created by the Constitutional Court judgement that dubbed several parts of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act and Medicines and Related Substances Control Act unconstitutional.
This comes after the 2018 Constitutional Court ruling that made private and medical use of cannabis legal. Despite leaps and bounds made by this ruling, use of cannabis outside of a private location and the sale or purchase of the plant is still illegal.
The latest draft bill introduces new offences relating to cannabis and addresses the private use and cultivation of the herb in more detail.
New rules outlined:
According to the new draft bill, an adult individual may:
– Possess and cultivate a prescribed quantity of cannabis, own a prescribed quantity of plant cultivating material and cultivate a prescribed quantity of cannabis in a private place
– Possess a prescribed quantity of plants or cannabis in a public space
A private place is defined as any place like a building, house, shed, room, tent, hut, mobile home, boat, caravan, land or a portion thereof that the public does not have right of access to.
Cultivation and personal use are each allocated prescribed quantities, according to the draft.
Legal private use amounts are:
– Unlimited seeds and seedlings
– Eight flowering plants for homes with two adults or more and four plants for those living alone
– For homes/dwellings with two adults or more, 1.2 kilograms of dried cannabis is permissible while those living alone are allowed to have up to 600 grams
Public possession of cannabis ‘in private’ is limited to 100 grams by the draft bill. This means those in possession of the herb will need to conceal it from public view while in a public area while transporting it or keeping it.
New offences have been added to enforce the new regulations, these include:
– Anyone who exceed the possession limits for public or private use
– Anyone who smokes cannabis in a public place
– Anyone who smokes cannabis in the presence of a non-consenting adult
– Anyone who smokes cannabis in the presence of a child
– Anyone who smokes cannabis in a private place near a window, ventilation inlet or entrance
– Anyone who consumes cannabis while in a vehicle on a public road.
The bill also address the use of cannabis by children or around children, with guardians or adults found guilty of breaking any above listed offences liable to face up to 15 years in prison, an immediate fine or two years in prison.
One of the biggest question on many cannabis smokers lips is what will happen to previous offences related to older cannabis laws.
Anyone who has a criminal record due to laws pertaining to sections 2(b) of the Abuse of Dependence-producing Substances and Rehabilitation Centres Act or Section 4(b) of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act or former laws of the Republics of Venda, Ciskei, Transkei or Bophuthatswana, Ciskei or Venda, or of any former self-governing territory will have their records automatically expunged by the Criminal Record Centre of the South African Police Service.