The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services (the Committee) has invited stakeholders and interested persons to provide feedback on the most recent proposed amendments to the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill 2023 [B19 – 2020], which inter alia, broadens the scope of the Bill to include provisions relating to commercial hemp activities.
The proposed amendment(s) to the Bill emanates from the Committee's view, pursuant to the public participation process and deliberations during 2022. The process highlighted that hemp and cannabis plants are of the same species and there is sufficient overlap in the subject matter. Therefore due consideration of the possible interaction of hemp and cannabis within the purposive scope of the Bill is required. During 2022, we made submissions to the Committee about the Bill in which we, inter alia, highlighted the opportunity and the potential for a thriving cannabis market.
Significant proposed amendments to the Bill relate to the distinction between the commercial activities of cannabis and hemp. The Bill, in its current form and with the word "recreational" deleted, proposes that national legislation must be enacted to regulate commercial activities regarding cannabis. The proposed amendments to the Bill however envisage that the commercial activities regarding hemp will be regulated by the provisions of the Bill together with regulations to be promulgated by the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development in consultation with the Cabinet member responsible for trade, industry and competition, the Cabinet member responsible for finance (if it has substantial financial implications) and/or any other Cabinet member or MEC, if the contemplated commercial hemp activity affects their areas of responsibility.
Stakeholders and interested persons are invited to submit their written submissions to the proposed amendments to the Bill by no later than Friday, 28 April 2023.