IS CANNABIS LEGAL SOUTH AFRICA?

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

In September 2018, the Constitutional Court ruled that it is not a criminal offence for an adult citizen to use, possess or grow cannabis in private for personal consumption in South Africa.


A few months after that cannabis products considered to be ‘health supplements’ (with no medical claims), were exempted from the medicines and related substances act. This, as long as they contain a daily dose less than 20mg cannabidiol (CBD), as well as those containing less than 0.001% of THC.


These products can be sold relatively freely as a result of the exemption published in the Government Gazette on 23 May 2019. That ‘exemption’ created a semi false impression among South Africans that the cannabis market had suddenly opened up to ‘all’ products.



Medicinal cannabis grown in Africa. Image by Matteo Paganelli on Unsplash


The Constitutional Court gave parliament 24 months from the date of the judgment to bring the ruling in line with South African laws. The Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill was developed to address the concerns raised by the Constitutional Court.


In September 2020, the government published the draft Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill for public comment.


In April of this year the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development released its draft cannabis master plan, which aims to turn marijuana into a viable business sector for the country.


Included in the master plan’s list of priorities, is the signing of the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill into law within the 2022/2023 financial year.


According to this article in Business Tech, The draft bill states that an adult person may for personal use:

  • Possess the prescribed quantity of cannabis plant cultivation material;

  • Cultivate the prescribed quantity of cannabis plants in a private place;

  • Possess in private, the prescribed quantity of cannabis in a public place;

  • Possess the prescribed quantity of cannabis in a private place;

  • Possess in private, the prescribed quantity of cannabis plants in a public place.

The bill defines a ‘private place’ as any place, including a building, house, room, shed, hut, tent, mobile home, caravan, boat or land or any portion thereof, to which the public does not have access as of right. The draft legislation also states that an adult person may, without the exchange of remuneration provide to, or obtain from, another adult person, for personal use under certain prescribed quantities of:


The draft bill also sets outs ‘prescribed quantities’ for both personal use and cultivation purposes. Read more about this here.


To understand the distinction between recreational use and medicinal use, as well as the importance of certification of products for medicinal cannabis read on:


Medical Cannabis Cultivation

The first important certification for a licensed cultivator is GACP (Good Agricultural and Collection Practice). This is purely for cultivation, so anything that happens from seed to harvest falls under this certification. There are different auditors who supply GACP audits and issue certifications, but currently the most highly regarded is issued by Control Union, an Israeli based company who certifies farms with Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's) that meet the criteria as set out by Control Union's GACP certification requirements.


Medical Cannabis Processing/ Manufacturing

Harvesting, trimming, packing is all controlled by GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) and the highest GMP is EUGMP which is required for getting product into certain European countries.


We source only the highest quality products from certified, licensed cultivators.

Should you want to know more about medical cannabis, please reach out to us at info@farmers2pharma.com.




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If you are looking for a professional partner to provide you with a procurement, due diligence or compliance service for medical cannabis products, please share your details below or email me at greg.beadle@farmerstopharma.com. Our qualified team is prepared and ready to be of service to you.

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