Public given more time to deliberate on Cannabis Bill

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The deadline for comments on the Cannabis Bill has been extended.
The deadline for comments on the Cannabis Bill has been extended.
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  • The deadline for public comment on the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill has been extended to 30 November.
  • This after several requests from the public.
  • Parliament has already failed to meet the Constitutional Court's deadline, but the court's interim relief still stands.

The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services has decided to allow the public to mull over the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill a bit longer.

The deadline for submissions on the bill was Friday, but after several requests for an extension from the public, the committee has resolved to extend the deadline for written submissions.

The deadline will now be 30 November 2020, committee chairperson Bulelani Magwanishe announced in a statement on Friday.  

The bill is required after a ruling of the Constitutional Court, which on 18 September 2018 gave Parliament 24 months to make the necessary legislative amendments.

READ | Dealing dagga is still illegal, police warn

While the deadline has come and gone, the interim relief granted by the Constitutional Court will still be in force until the amendments are enacted, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development previously informed the committee.

To be blunt, Parliament never had a chance to reach the deadline: The Bill was only approved by Cabinet in August, after which it was introduced to Parliament.

Privacy

The purpose of the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill is to respect the right to privacy of an adult person to possess cannabis plant cultivation material, to cultivate a prescribed quantity of cannabis plants, possess a prescribed quantity of cannabis, and to smoke and consume cannabis, according to the statement.

It further aims to regulate the possession of cannabis plant cultivation material; the cultivation of cannabis plants; the possession of cannabis and the smoking and consumption of cannabis by an adult person; protect adults and children against the harm of cannabis; and provide for the expungement of criminal records of persons convicted of possession or use of cannabis.

The public can join send submissions to cannabisbill@parliament.gov.za, and must indicate if they would like to make a verbal presentation. Copies of the bill may be obtained from Mr V Ramaano, tel: (021) 403-3820 or 083 709 8427 or www.parliament.gov.za.  

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