Gauteng dagga

Photo: Unsplash

New dagga laws set for approval in SA – with six major changes expected

The final approval for new dagga laws in South Africa moved a step closer on Thursday – but what will change with the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill of 2020?

Gauteng dagga

Photo: Unsplash

Cabinet has given the green light to the official proposals made by the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill of 2020. The legislation will now be passed through Parliament before receiving its final approval, making dagga officially legal to smoke on private property and within the home.

New dagga laws – what will change for South Africans?

The irony will not be lost on many, given that this ruling will likely be passed in the middle of a cigarette ban. However, there are a number of legal loopholes that allow dagga to be grown on the basis of personal consumption. The developments were confirmed on Thursday, and they will bring six major changes to current laws:

  • Parts of the Drug Trafficking Act and the Medicines Substance Control Act will now be amended.
  • This new bill will now serve as the main authority to regulate the use and possession of cannabis.
  • The cultivation and growing of plants by an adult for personal use will also be determined by this soon-to-be-law.
  • It is set to provide a limit on the quantity of cannabis that may be possessed by an adult.
  • However, it’s worth noting that this proposed legislation will criminalise the smoking of cannabis in public places.
  • Meanwhile, a separate judgment made earlier this week bars police from arresting children found in possession of dagga. It’s believed the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill will make provisions to support this ruling.

How much cannabis can you possess? It still hasn’t been decided

Frustratingly, one year and eleven months on from ConCourt’s historic ruling – which gave the go-ahead for legal private usage of dagga – the government still can’t tell us exact numbers for things like ‘legal quantities’ and how much is allowed for ‘home growth’. However, Thursday’s announcement does bring us one step closer to clarity on a matter that is now just a matter of weeks from concluding:

“Cabinet has approved the submission to Parliament of the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill of 2020 for processing. The Bill gives effect to a Constitutional Court judgement that declared [previous laws] unconstitutional. The judgement was suspended for 24 months so Parliament could correct those sections.”

Government statement