South Africa Cabinet Advances Cannabis Legalization Bill

South Africa Cabinet officials have advanced a bill legalizing the adult use of cannabis; the measure comes three years after a High Court ruling declared that cannabis prohibition was unconstitutional.

Full story after the jump.

South Africa Cabinet officials have approved a draft bill allowing for personal cannabis use and sent the measure to Parliament, according to a BusinessTech report. The measure comes more than three years after a ruling by the Western Cape Town High Court that declared prohibiting cannabis use in private homes is unconstitutional.

The ruling was affirmed in 2018 by the nation’s Constitutional Court.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola said in a media briefing on Thursday that the bill will codify the Constitutional Court judgment, which declared some parts of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act and Medicines and Related Substances Control Act unconstitutional.

The judgment was suspended for two years to allow lawmakers to correct the affected sections of the laws, he said during his remarks.

“This bill regulates the use and possession of cannabis and the cultivation of cannabis plants by an adult for personal use. It provides the limit of the quantity of cannabis that may be possessed by an adult and criminalizes the smoking of cannabis in public places.” – Lamola, during a press conference via BusinessTech

The details of the proposal have not been released as they still require review by Parliament and a public consultation process before becoming law.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, an estimated 3.65 percent of South Africans consume cannabis and the nation ranks 100th among cannabis consuming countries.

The original suit that sparked the broad law changes was filed by Dagga Party leader Jeremy Acton and Rastafarian Garreth Prince. The duo argued successfully that some of the sections of the Drug Trafficking and Medicines Control acts were discriminatory, outdated, or unfair, and applied disproportionately to Black individuals. They had obtained stays of prosecution for people arrested for possession pending the outcome of the case.

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