Legislation: More changes to recreational cannabis proposals

Major changes to proposed legislation allowing for a commercial recreational cannabis industry were last week tabled in Parliament, enabling government to push ahead its master plan for the sector announced last August. The Mail & Guardian reports that the committee hopes to pass the Bill by the end of this term in April, after which it will go to the NCOP. It will also likely have to go for a second round of public hearings, because the amendments were introduced after the public consultation process had been completed. In last month’s Sona, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the government was ready to push ahead with legalizing and regulating the commercial cannabis industry, which he said could create 130 000 much-needed jobs. The masterplan, tabled by the Department of Agriculture last year, values the industry at a potential R28bn a year. The report notes that the amendments remove the legislative obstacle that the Bill had previously thrown up regarding a commercial cannabis industry, because it had provided limits only on personal possession and cultivation and had criminalized any cannabis trade whatsoever.

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