Connect with us


South African President Signs Marijuana Legalization Bill Into Law



South Africa’s president has signed a bill to legalize marijuana possession and cultivation by adults.

President Cyril Ramaphosa gave his approval to the Cannabis for Private Purposes Act (CfPPA) on Tuesday, just one day ahead of national elections. The National Assembly had passed the legislation last November, and the National Council of Provinces signed off in February.

The reform has been years in the making, with lawmakers well past a deadline following a Constitutional Court ruling in 2018 that deemed the prohibition on simple possession and cultivation of cannabis to be unlawful, mandating legislative change within two years.

The bill to codify legalization was finally introduced in 2020, but action had been delayed, even as South Africa’s government has included cannabis in a list of sectors to prioritize in the interest of economic expansion.

“The consequent regulatory reform enabled by the CfPPA will, amongst others, entirely remove cannabis from the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act,” the president’s office said in a press release on Tuesday. “This will further enable amendment of the Schedules to the Medicines and Related Substances Act and provide for targeted regulatory reform of the Plant Breeders Rights Act and the Plant Improvement Act, as well as other pieces of legislation that require amendment to allow for the industrialisation of the cannabis sector.”

“The Bill further guides the medically prescribed administration of cannabis to a child while also protecting children from undue exposure to cannabis,” the president’s office said. “It provides for an alternative manner by which to address the issue of the prohibited use, possession of, or dealing in, cannabis by children, with due regard to the best interest of the child. It also prohibit the dealing in cannabis.”

Lawmakers have emphasized that the measure does not permit for the lawful sale of cannabis. Adults will need to grow their own plants, and they could only consume in their private residence.

The legislation further provides for expungements of prior marijuana possession and cultivation convictions.

Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo has said that it’s the government’s hope that the non-commercial legalization bill will serve as a jumping off point for lawmakers to enact more robust regulations to support the establishment of a marijuana market in the country.

The president said in his State of the Nation address in 2022 that he wants to his the country enter the global medical hemp and cannabis industry, arguing that it could generate more than 100,000 jobs.

For now, however, the new law is focused on removing criminal penalties in accordance with the Constitutional Court’s unanimous 2018 ruling, which followed a lower court decision in the Western Cape province covering Cape Town to end prohibition.

Similar to South Africa, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that marijuana criminalization is unconstitutional, giving lawmakers a mandate to revise the laws. That reform has advanced in recent sessions, but it’s yet to be enacted.

Delaware Governor Signs Bill To Expand Medical Marijuana Access By Letting Doctors Recommend It For Any Condition

Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
Become a patron at Patreon!

Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.


Marijuana News In Your Inbox

Get our daily newsletter.

Support Marijuana Moment

Marijuana News In Your Inbox


Get our daily newsletter.