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South Africa Is One Step Closer To Legalizing Cannabis For Personal Use

Patricio Liddle


Friday 17 Nov 2023

In a significant move towards cannabis reform, South Africa’s National Assembly has given its approval to the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill, potentially paving the way for the legalization of personal cannabis use. This development comes after a 2018 judgment that decriminalized private cannabis use, signaling a possible turning point for South Africa’s cannabis landscape.

Personal Use: Grow Your Own

The bill focuses exclusively on cannabis for personal use by adults. Though authorities recently ordered an end to arrests for use and possession, selling marijuana is still illegal. In the words of Democratic Alliance Parliament Member Janho Engelbrecht, “If you want to smoke it, you have to grow it, don’t buy it.”

Pending Regulations And Details

The bill does not include some crucial details, such as possession limits and legalization for medical use. However, regulations governing private adult cannabis use are expected to be addressed in separate rulemaking from Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamo, according to The Citizen.

Expungement Of Cannabis Convictions

One notable aspect of the bill is its provision to expunge criminal records related to cannabis convictions, a move in line with many reform measures in the United States. These records may be cleared for those previously convicted of possession, use and other cannabis-based charges.

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Delays And Concerns Over Children’s Welfare

The prolonged delay in advancing the bill, which took five years to reach this point, can be attributed to concerns about its potential impact on children, according to High Times. The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development urged the committee to consider children’s best interests in the context of legalizing adult cannabis use.

Foundations For The Future

Although the bill does not establish a recreational cannabis market or permit cannabis sales, there is optimism that it may lay the groundwork for South Africa’s future cannabis industry. The government has identified the cannabis and hemp sector as a priority for investment and job creation.

Impact On Africa’s Medical Cannabis Industry

South Africa’s move towards legalization also has the potential to have a substantial impact on the medical marijuana (MMJ) industry. A recent report revealed that the MMJ is projected to experience a 20.12% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) surge by 2028, highlighting the growing interest in cannabis-related opportunities in the region.




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