SANDF Members Eligible for Cannabis Use, Says DOJ, Despite Operational Concerns
In a recent development, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has affirmed that members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will not be excluded from the provisions of the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill.
This statement comes in response to growing concerns about the potential use of cannabis within SANDF living quarters.
Operational Consequences Feared by SANDF
The SANDF has expressed apprehensions regarding the possible inclusion of its members in the cannabis legislation.
According to SANDF, permitting members to use cannabis privately during service could pose severe consequences for both individual duties and the overall operations of the SANDF.
Risks Associated with Cannabis Use at Work
Highlighting the risks associated with intoxicating substances, the SANDF emphasized that members under the influence of such substances might face the potential of causing harm or even fatalities, not only to themselves but also to the broader public.
Concerns about Living Quarters
One of SANDF’s primary concerns revolves around living quarters or official housing on its premises, accommodating soldiers and their families.
The bill’s implication that these living spaces qualify as “private places” raises questions about the potential impact on the working environment.
DOJ Asserts Constitutionality
Contrary to SANDF’s reservations, the DOJ’s legal adviser, Makubela Mokulubete, has asserted that excluding SANDF members from the cannabis legislation would be unconstitutional.
Mokulubete clarified that the bill applies to all South Africans, including active or non-active SANDF members, emphasizing that the bill does not mandate cannabis use on duty.
Historical Context: Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill
The genesis of the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill dates back to the 2018 Prince judgment by the Constitutional Court.
The court declared it unconstitutional for the state to criminalize the possession, use, or cultivation of cannabis by adults for personal consumption in private.
This landmark decision reshaped the legal landscape surrounding cannabis, making it unlawful for authorities to arrest adults engaging in private cultivation, possession, or use of moderate cannabis amounts.
Conclusion: Balancing Individual Rights and Operational Integrity
As discussions unfold around the inclusion of SANDF members in the cannabis legislation, the South African legal landscape grapples with the challenge of striking a balance between individual rights and the potential impact on organizational operations.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn