COSATU welcomes Parliament’s passage of the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill 

28 February 2024

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) welcomes Parliament’s passage of the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill yesterday.  This is a welcome step forward to decriminalise cannabis for private purposes as required by the Constitutional Court judgment finding the existing criminalisation of personal use to be unconstitutional. 

COSATU supports the Bill as it:

  • Provides a rational legal framework for the use of cannabis for private purposes. 
  • Will end the obligation to needlessly arrest and imprison persons using cannabis for personal use in the privacy of their homes whilst serious crimes run unabated. 
  • Establishes clear legal provisions for the use of cannabis for medical purposes, providing relief for thousands of persons with serious illnesses. 
  • Recognises the need to provide legal space for religious institutions, e.g. Rastafarians whose religious practises include the use of cannabis. 
  • Finds the right balance between complying with the Constitutional Court judgement, decriminalising cannabis and regulating the development of the medical and commercial sectors. 
  • Decriminalisation will help remove the industry from the control of criminal and often violent syndicates, create badly needed jobs and provide useful medical, commercial and industrial goods for the economy.

Cannabis and hemp in particular, have a variety of commercial products that can be used for medicine, clothing, construction, manufacturing and other legitimate commercial uses.  The Bill provides a positive boost for this and the Hemp Master Plan being developed by government, business and labour. 

Government needs to move with speed to enact the Bill into law.

Issued by COSATU

For further information please contact:
Matthew Parks
Acting National Spokesperson & Parliamentary Coordinator
Cell: 082 785 0687