Submission for consideration in developing a supportive regulatory environment for the growth and trade in medicinal and recreational marijuana in South Africa
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Since 2017, three separate events have influenced the legality of cannabis in South Africa. Firstly, a licensing framework was introduced for the domestic cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis by the Department of Health (2017). In September 2018 the Constitutional Court ruled that it was no longer a criminal offence for adults to use, possess or grow marijuana, and gave parliament 24 months to bring the law in alignment with this ruling - most notably, the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act, but potentially impacting on a range of legislation and regulations. (At present, there is still policy uncertainty in relation to the court’s ruling with respect to what constitutes private use of marijuana). In 2019 an active ingredient of cannabis—Cannabidiol (CBD) was rescheduled (from a Schedule 7 to Schedule 4 drug) by the Minister of Health from the operation of the Schedules to the Medicines and Related Substances Act. Each of these actions represents initial steps for South Africa, alongside a growing number of countries towards decriminalising and legalising marijuana, both for recreational and medicinal purposes. The changing legal environment and increasing scientific evidence suggesting important societal, medicinal and economic benefits related to cannabis for these attributes represents potentially the single largest economic opportunity in a generation for South Africa.
- Policy Briefs (PLAAS)