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Some experts label draft cannabis bill as restrictive, flawed & discriminatory

Fields of Green for All's Suresh Patel said that the bill contradicted the 2018 Constitutional Court ruling regarding private use.

FILE: A marijuana plant. Picture: Pixabay.com

CAPE TOWN - Marijuana industry experts said that a lot had to change in the draft Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill.

During a panel discussion hosted by the University of Pretoria on Tuesday, some experts labeled the draft bill restrictive, flawed and discriminatory.

Experts have lauded the bill's intention to expunge prior criminal records but warned that it missed the mark on commercialisation.

Fields of Green for All's Suresh Patel said that the bill contradicted the 2018 Constitutional Court ruling regarding private use.

"This bill speaks about plant counting as well as limits on how much dried cannabis can be held at home, so the real question we need to ask ourselves is who is going to come into our homes to verify how many plants we're growing or how much weed we've got."

Patel said that this would require search warrants.

"Are courts going to be granting search warrants in bulk to try and enforce this? It all boils down to being a massive burden on our court system, which is already burdened."

He said that a regulatory body was needed to serve as a mediator between government and the cannabis industry.

"We are pushing for the formation of a cannabis ombudsman, which is essentially an independent cannabis regulatory body that is going to act as a middle man between government and the cannabis industry."

The deadline for public submissions on the draft bill is at the end of this month.

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