South Africa legalizes private cannabis use; dealing remains prohibited


PRETORIA – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has given his assent to the Cannabis for Private Purposes Act (CfPPA). This legislation regulates the cultivation, possession, and use of cannabis by adults in private settings.

South Africa legalizes private marijuana use
Image: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

The Act however maintains a prohibition on dealing in cannabis.

The CfPPA paves the way for significant regulatory reform. It will remove cannabis entirely from the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act, allowing for amendments to the Schedules to the Medicines and Related Substances Act. 

This will facilitate targeted regulatory reform of the Plant Breeders Rights Act and the Plant Improvement Act, among other pieces of legislation. These changes are necessary for the industrialization of the cannabis sector.

The Act also provides guidelines for the medically prescribed administration of cannabis to children, while protecting them from undue exposure. 

It offers an alternative approach to addressing the issue of prohibited use, possession, or dealing in cannabis by children, with due regard to the child's best interest. 

In 2018, the Constitutional Court decriminalized the private use and cultivation of cannabis for personal consumption. 

The new legislation, introduced in 2020, seeks to allow for the cultivation and possession of a stipulated quantity of cannabis and its use in private settings. 

It also aims to expunge the criminal records of those convicted of possessing cannabis.

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