I’m writing to ask this council not to support nor approve the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill.

I oppose the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill because its enforcement of criminality will pose a greater threat to the security of our families, careers, freedom to travel, and does not solve to provide a platform for a harm reduction approach. The punitive damages set out in the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill is erroneous for modern-day constitutional supremacy.

The Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill was introduced to the National Assembly on 01 Sep 2020, and would amend regulations to create a whole new set of separate offenses for a scientifically benign substance. Our justice system needs to remain impartial to protect the common good and should not seek to punish through criminality and we must immediately remove Cannabis from outdated retributive justice practices.

The Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill unashamedly aims to turn ordinary South African citizens into victimless criminals after there have been numerous acknowledgments from various Government representatives that Cannabis Decriminalization was on the cards. Most Cannabis law violations do not infringe on other people’s rights, nor is there a victim to be compensated for the intentional and unintentional harms they suffered, and thus the only victim is the citizen suffering from state abduction and unscrupulous punishment.

Further, justice and injustices have already been served through decades of prohibition and it’s time to lift the veil of the failed attempts at regulating cannabis in a safe manner. The injustices that will come from the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill’s implementation will be more harmful than our existing unjust regulatory framework or dagga itself. There are better ways to prevent reckless arrests, state abductions, disruptions of families, careers, and general abuse of process.

The economic burden of the proposed Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill is far greater than what our current regime prescribes. Our National police force is lacking general law enforcement as it is, and to have to put additional pressure on policing citizens in the form of plant counting will see an additional invasion of privacy and overreaching government involvement, for the mere sake of monitoring citizens.

Additionally, the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill does not make provision for all private and personal needs or quantities and makes baseless assumptions of personal procurement and consumption choices and habits.

The amnesty provided is limited, under-reaching, and does not offer to console those that have been unfairly incarcerated. All dagga and cannabis prisoners should immediately get a writ of habeas corpus to allow a mitigation review for the urgent release from prison. 

The Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill should be abandoned in its entirety with immediate relief and Parliamentary effort should be made to stop the cops from making unjust and unconstitutional dagga arrests going forward.

Against this background, I do not consent for the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill to be passed in its entirety.

As per Judge Zondo’s judgement of the Cape Town High Court ruling in Prince & Acton vs State, Parliament failed to meet the 24 Month deadline and the opportunity to propose these regulations.

Imiël Visser

Citizen of the Republic of South Africa

Download: Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill

 

Submission for public comments closes 09 Oct 2020 at 16:00 and can be mailed to:

[email protected]
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