South Africa News

NCOP invites public to comment on private cannabis bill

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) has extended the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill to the public for comments and suggestions after it was passed by the National Assembly last month.

This, according to Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapho on Monday.

“The committee has called for comments from individuals and stakeholders. The deadline is January 19, 2023,” Mothapho told the publication.

Interested parties have two options to contribute to the bill, either submit written letters with their comments or email it to the NCOP.

Written submissions need to be submitted by January 19.

The promulgation of the private cannabis bill came after the Prince judgment by the Constitutional Court in 2018, which officially recognized that South Africans had the right to possess and consume cannabis in a private capacity.

The bill was then gazetted on August 7, 2020, before being introduced to Parliament on September 1, 2020.

The effect the new bill could potentially have on children was the reason for delays in its passing by the National Assembly.

The bill is being processed by the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Service.

“The bill as tabled and deliberated on by the committee up until its meeting on September 12, 2023, did not look beyond the adult-centred focus of the private-purpose use of cannabis.

“The Constitutional Court suspended the operation of the order of constitutional invalidity for a period of 24 months for Parliament to finalize the legislative reform process. The date by which the defect must be corrected by Parliament is September 28, 2024,” Mothapo said in November, after it was passed by the National Assembly.

The government identified the cannabis and hemp industry as one of 14 priority sectors to secure investment, job creation, and support for sustainable rural livelihoods.

-IOL

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