SAPS Brigadier updates on cannabis rules and what you should know

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Despite cannabis being decriminalised in South Africa, many cannabis users are still finding themselves handcuffed and charged for cannabis possession by rather overzealous police officers. This has resulted in numerous people still being confused about cannabis possession and its newfound status. 

To clear up the air, we chatted with Newcastle SAPS station commander Brigadier Leon Matthysen, to address the rather misunderstood topic for not only people but officers who never listened in the briefing about cannabis regulation changes.

“Police officers have been notified not to arrest people for being in possession of cannabis if it is for private use. Also, the National Prosecuting Authority will not prosecute individuals who were found in possession of cannabis (within the legal limits as set out by the government).”

Furthermore, Brigadier Matthysen said it was important to remember that while marijuana was decriminalised, one could not smoke it as one pleased. “You cannot smoke cannabis in public, nor can you deal in cannabis.” Selling cannabis or smoking it in a public place, can and will land you in hot water.

But what about driving and smoking cannabis in your car, as it is private property?

The Brigadier noted that smoking cannabis in one’s car created a rather tricky situation. This is because while your car is a private place, one’s vehicle is often driven around in public places. This means that it was advisable not to smoke cannabis while driving to avoid legal repercussions.

Just to fresh your memory on the Cannabis for Private Use Bill:

  • An adult may possess the prescribed quantity of cannabis plant cultivation material.
  • An adult can possess in private the prescribed quantity of cannabis in a public place.
  • An adult may possess the prescribed quantity of cannabis in a private place.
  • Also, an adult can cultivate the prescribed quantity of cannabis plants in a private place.
  • An adult person may, without the exchange of remuneration provide to, or obtain from, another adult person, for personal use the prescribed quantity of cannabis plant cultivation material, cannabis plants or cannabis.

To read the full bill, click here.

While the SAPS now adjusts to the new laws around “the plant“, cannabis continues to boom globally. This is seeing South Africa, ever so slowly, make headway in the multi-billion dollar industry. One that with the correct legislative changes and workability from the government will see prosperous progression for an array of South Africans. 

During the State of the Nation Address in February 2022, President Cyril Ramaphosa highlighted that the hemp and cannabis sector has the potential to create more than 130 000 new jobs.

At the time, he highlighted that because of the cannabis sector’s potential, the Government was streamlining the regulatory processes. so that the sector could thrive like it is in other countries such as Lesotho.

To read the full article, click here.

In August 2021, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development pointed out that the establishment of the Cannabis industry would lead to diversification in the economy, having a ripple effect, seeing an increase in economic growth, jobs creation and poverty alleviation.

The Department stated that the potential size of the cannabis industry in South Africa was estimated at about R28 billion. 

Unpacking the National Cannabis Master Plan Framework in 2021, the department showcased the importance of cannabis in the medical, food, industrial and recreational sectors.

To read the full article, click here.

Furthermore, on 6 March 2022, KZN Premier, Sihle Zikalala announced that the province had taken a major step in establishing the Cannabis/Hemp industry in the Province, with the establishment of a multi-disciplinary committee to develop the cannabis/hemp industry.

“Therefore, the establishment of the Cannabis industry will lead to the diversification of the economy, create jobs, increase economic growth, and contribute to poverty alleviation. The Provincial Cannabis Committee will be responsible for growing the cannabis/hemp industry through ensuring adherence to regulatory systems, seed supply systems, research and technology development.”

This all comes down to the fact, that unlike a few years ago, cannabis, dagga, weed, or whatever you call it, is allowed in your home. You are allowed to grow it and even give it away. You just can’t sell it or use it in public. But, remember that the laws are still being updated, so always keep an eye on the news. 

Learn more about this plant and its compounds by watching the video below and be sure to share your comments with us in the comment section below.

Have you been arrested for cannabis use? What happened and what was the result? Let us know.

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