Experts from Cape Town-based cannabis company, The Haze Club, have criticised the new South African bill designed to legalise the personal use of cannabis.
The Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill has been released to the public ahead of it being submitted to the South African parliament. The bill was drafted by the country’s Justice and Correctional Services Department.
If passed, the bill would legalise the growing and use of cannabis by an adult on private property. The bill would also allow people to share limited amounts of cannabis, but only without any payment.
In total, the bill allows a person to have four cannabis plants and 600 grams of dried cannabis if they live alone, or a total of eight plants and 1.2 kilograms of cannabis for homes with two or more people.
Although less than 100 grams of cannabis can be carried in public, the bill makes it an offence for anyone to see the cannabis – so you have to keep it concealed. Among other offences, it is also an offence to smoke near a window, ventilation inlet and doorway, or in a vehicle.
To Neil Liddell, the director of The Haze Club, this legislation perpetuates the stigma against cannabis. Lidell also believes the bill will have a negative impact on South Africa’s economy, as it fails to allow a legal cannabis industry. In an interview with Cape Talk, he explained:
The bill treats cannabis almost as if it’s a firearm. Whoever drafted this bill clearly doesn’t know the cannabis plant at all.
If a person commits an offence under the Cannabis for Private Purposes bill, they face a fine or a minimum prison sentence of two years. The bill also includes measures to automatically expunge the records of people who convicted of specific cannabis crimes, but no plan to rebuild communities damaged by the war on drugs.