Cannabis Bill: Deadline for comment extended

The Bill was approved by Cabinet in August and tabled in Parliament in the wake of a 2018 Constitutional Court decision that upheld the right to personal possession and cultivation of the herb more commonly known as dagga.

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CAPE TOWN - Parliament’s justice committee has agreed to extend the deadline for public comment on the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill.

The Bill was approved by Cabinet in August and tabled in Parliament in the wake of a 2018 Constitutional Court decision that upheld the right to personal possession and cultivation of the herb more commonly known as dagga.

The deadline for public comment on the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill expires on Friday, 9 October, but those wishing to make submissions to Parliament now have until the end of November to do so.

The extension of the deadline was decided by Parliament’s justice committee on Thursday night.

Committee chairperson Bulelani Magwanishe says cannabis farmers from the Eastern Cape requested a six-month extension for comment, but the committee was not prepared to entertain this. The committee will, however, only be able to start work on the Bill next year, as it must first process legislation aimed at strengthening the fight against gender-based violence.

The Draft Cannabis Bill currently provides for a 15-year jail term for anyone who deals in cannabis or sells it to a child. Someone who smokes in public can be jailed for two years while smoking in the presence of children could lead to a four-year prison sentence.

The Bill sets out limits for use at home, citing the number of plants allowed to be grown and the amount of dried herb that can be legally kept on the premises.

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