In Summary
  • South Africa’s president has signed a bill to legalize marijuana possession and cultivation by adults.
  • The National Assembly had passed the legislation last November, and the National Council of Provinces signed off in February.
  • Cannabis to be removed from the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed into law the Cannabis for Private Purposes Act (“CfPPA”). The CfPPA regulates the cultivation, possession, and use of cannabis by adults in a private setting.

The consequent regulatory reform enabled by the CfPPA will, amongst others, entirely remove cannabis from the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act.

This will further enable amendment of the Schedules to the Medicines and Related Substances Act and provide for targeted regulatory reform of the Plant Breeders Rights Act and the Plant Improvement Act, as well as other pieces of legislation that require amendment to allow for the industrialisation of the cannabis sector.

The Bill further guides the medically prescribed administration of cannabis to a child while also protecting children from undue exposure to cannabis.

It provides for an alternative manner by which to address the issue of the prohibited use, possession of, or dealing in, cannabis by children, with due regard to the best interest of the child. It also prohibit the dealing in cannabis.

READ Also:Marijuana As a Mystical Drug.

The Making of The Bill

The reform has been years in the making, with lawmakers well past a deadline following a Constitutional Court ruling in 2018 that deemed the prohibition on simple possession and cultivation of cannabis to be unlawful, mandating legislative change within two years.

The bill to codify legalization was finally introduced in 2020, but action had been delayed, even as South Africa’s government has included cannabis in a list of sectors to prioritize in the interest of economic expansion.

Lawmakers have emphasized that the measure does not permit for the lawful sale of cannabis. Adults will need to grow their own plants, and they could only consume in their private residence.


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