It is a good question right now in South Africa: Is cannabis legal? The answer is NO and that is according to the South African Drugs and Drugs Trafficking Act No. 140 of 1993 which lists cannabis under “Undesirable Dependence-Producing Substances”. People are still being caught for possession of cannabis or for being under the influence of cannabis and they are being punished. But still people are going ahead with plans to grow cannabis, make medical cannabis products and sell them. There are plans for commercial cultivation of cannabis waiting to be implemented but still people are waiting for finality from the law.
Many people believe that cannabis IS legal in South Africa. No, there has been no follow-up since March 2017 when the Western Cape High Court ruled that South Africans could grow and use “dagga” in the privacy of their own homes but that the commercial cultivation of cannabis was still illegal. There are at least 2 years to wait until the law is actually changed by the legislature so until such time, people can still be arrested for growing, producing and selling cannabis outside of their private homes. There are no licenses to cultivate cannabis legally in South Africa or to use it or trade in it – and this includes the use of medical cannabis for chronic illnesses. Many people have applied to conduct research into industrial cannabis and medical cannabis use but what the country needs is permission to cultivate, produce and sell cannabis legally.
Meanwhile, during the waiting phase to see if cannabis will be now legal in South Africa, employers are worrying about the use of cannabis in the work place and how to manage this, in future. When policies are drawn up concerning cannabis in the workplace, care needs to be taken about drug testing and how employees behave when under the influence of cannabis. There are problems with this regulation as signs of cannabis can be seen in the bloodstream until a week after use.
In addition, there are cannabinoids which make the user high (the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) and there are cannabinoids which do not have any side effects (cannabidiol or CBD and cannabinol or CBN). All of the nearly 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant are very therapeutic and can be some of the best medicines around. It is only THC that changes the mental state of a user and it is therefore the use of this recreational chemical compound that should be managed, instead of all cannabis compounds per se.
The fact remains that cannabis is not legal in South Africa so if a worker arrives at work stoned or influenced by cannabis, he/she may not be safe to do the work required. Take a crane operator for example, or a taxi driver and consider their safety while operating their vehicles. Some company CEOs or managers may think that the use of cannabis by some employees actually stimulates their work and allow them this luxury. But there is evidence that drug usage during work hours is counter-productive as it impairs judgement, causes problems with time and space perception and impairs the ability to solve issues. It has been suggested that every company should state in their policy documents the boundaries regarding the use of cannabis at work. This can be part of the occupational health and safety policy.
South Africa remains on tenterhooks regarding a declaration on whether cannabis is now legal in South Africa. When will the high court make a final decision? Watch this space! Take a look at our cannabis oil products and order yours today.