In late 2018, South Africa’s Constitutional Court issued a historic ruling. In a case involving three cannabis consumers facing cannabis charges, South Africa’s top Court determined that cannabis prohibition “intrudes unjustifiably into their private spheres”.
“It will not be a criminal offence for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in private for his or her personal consumption.” stated Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in the Court’s unanimous decision back in 2018.
Since that time, various lawmakers in South Africa have worked towards the goal of launching a legal, regulated adult-use industry. And while that has yet to happen, progress is being made, albeit slowly, with the latest example of that coming in the form of the South African government seeking public input about a new proposal. Per Business Tech:
The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services has opened the proposed amendments to the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill for public comments.
The National Assembly is now calling on interested stakeholders to write submissions on the proposed amendments by no later than Friday, 28 April 2023.
Ultimately, the proposed amendments seek to broaden the scope of the bill to include provisions relating to the commercialisation of hemp, the use of cannabis and its production.
The 2018 decision in South Africa has created a large ‘grey’ market that is popular with consumers, but completely unregulated. Similar court decisions were rendered in Mexico in late 2018 and in Italy in late 2019. Similar to South Africa, the grey markets are flourishing in both Mexico and Italy due to languishing regulatory efforts.
Lawmakers would be wise in all of those countries to pass and implement robust cannabis reform measures resulting in the legal cannabis industry being embraced rather than prohibited. All of those countries would benefit from job creation, boosts to local economies, and the public revenue generation that an embraced adult-use industry would yield.