Cannabis and the Law in South Africa: Part 1

Cannabis and the Law Part 1

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This time around we chat about:

  1. Cannabis and the law in South Africa. This is part one of our Q & A with Stefan Bezuidenhout an attorney specialising in Cannabis law. 
  2. We share this month’s featured product a delicious, infused, salted caramel syrup

Let us dive right into Cannabis and the Law in South Africa

It’s been THREE long years since the landmark ruling that made it legal to consume and grow cannabis within a private space. We were promised new legislation within two years, but there have been delays. Stuck with rules from three years ago that many people still do not understand, police officials are taking the grey area of the law into their own hands. In a bid to learn more ourselves and share info with you, we hosted a live Q and A with Stefan Bezuidenhout ( @attorney420 ). The chat session was so informative that we decided to summarize the best points and questions here.

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Cannabis and the Law in South Africa with Stefan Bezuidenhout

Q: Can you tell us how you got into law in general and cannabis law specifically? Can you map out your journey in case anyone else wants to follow in your footsteps?

A: Yes sure, let me introduce myself, I’m Stefan Bezuidenhout, I’m an attorney of the High Court. I’ve been practising for just over 4 years now. My journey started when I studied an LLB in Potch. I never really found a specific law I was into. The law is so broad, none of us can do everything. Luckily when I graduated it was 2017 and the High Court judgement had just come out. By the time I was doing my articles, I had already touched on it but the firm I was at, at the time, was old school and conservative so there were some restrictions.

For example, when I wrote articles about it, I could not include the firm’s name, just my legal background. Luckily, this meant I got a lot of experience in the criminal department which was essentially going to connect me back to cannabis. It’s so closely related because that’s what everyone’s afraid of. You don’t want to spend millions of dollars on trying to be legal and end up in jail anyway. And these are people with families, kids, responsibilities. Sometimes the risk isn’t worth it. That’s for them to decide. 

So in 2018, luckily, when the ConCourt judgement came out, it was now more official. I needed to spread my wings at the time and decided to specialize in cannabis law. And that’s how I came across Schindler’s Attorneys. They were the first firm to drive it all the way to the constitutional court. I reached out to them and luckily we had negotiations that went very well. I joined Department for Medical and Recreational Cannabis. I gained tremendous experience and learnt the history of the Dagga Couple trial and how this whole story began. 

We noticed with the recreational side of things, being mainly the growing club and apart from that, you’ve got the licensing under Section 22, there’s not really a lot of other commercial space available currently in our little cannabis operation in South Africa. So currently I’m doing some independent legal work for The Cannabis Compliance Bureau. They’ve already done around 20 applications. So now I’m learning the pharmaceutical side and the regulatory side of things. I’m trying to hit that sweet spot in the middle of being good at the legal and the pharmaceutical side of things. Apparently, that’s what it’s going to take. I’m in the process of opening my own firm. I’m just completing the practical legal council management course. I should be done in mid-October and then hopefully from then I’ll be practising from my own firm and still doing the work that I’m doing.

(Contact Stefan via Instagram @attorney420)

Q: Besides the legal avenue, can you suggest any other careers that could funnel into the cannabis industry? We’d like people to see that there are many points of entry into this industry.

A: That’s a very good question. You always want to stay within the law on this. Especially the Drugs and Drugs Trafficking Act. That’s the one that will land you in jail. So if you look at the definition of cannabis, unfortunately, it includes every part of the plant. The stem, the flower, the leaves, the bud, seeds. So you’re very restricted in the dealings of any sort of cannabis. That could even stretch as far as transportation. And that’s why courier companies are very hesitant but that’s something we’ll chat about in more detail later. 

Apart from the actual plant, you’re not really restricted at all. That’s why we can buy bongs and paraphernalia. That would be a way to at least get your foot in the door if you don’t have the funds to start a compliant growing facility, exporting medicinal cannabis. So there’s a lot of leeways, not only in the paraphernalia but also in the growing equipment. There’s so much that goes with it. And once you go to these expo’s you can actually see how many people do the indoor tents, the pots, the soil, the lighting. There’s so much more around it and interest that’s growing every day and is just going to continue to grow. 

The more you can legitimize a business, the better your chances of succeeding. Of landing the big contracts with the big licensed facilities without having to deal with cannabis in any physical way. That’s where the CCB will come in. They don’t actually handle any type of cannabis, they assist you with the pharmaceutical application for a license. Otherwise, in the recreational space, you’re very limited. That’s why the government is apprehensive. If everyone just grows and sells their own cannabis, there will be issues with standards. There may be mould all over and people may get sick. It’s still dangerous if it’s unregulated. Especially, in a third world country, like South Africa, where crime is a big concern.

If you’re thinking about going into the recreational space, I suggest you follow the case of The Haze Club. It is a private grow club that recently got busted. The entire idea behind it, I believe in. I hope they do challenge it to some degree, even if just for the court to say if you can legally grow cannabis on someone else’s behalf. They’re taking the risk that the police need to prove that all your plants are not actually yours. That could prove to be very costly. And in the meantime, equipment gets confiscated and plants destroyed. It’s a mess! The risk is not for everyone.

The Q and A with Stefan Bezuidenhout will continue in three more parts. Stay tuned to the next article…

Want to help in the fight for legalisation?

  • To donate to Field of Green for All and help the legal fight for our cannabis freedom, click here
  • For more information or any questions, contact Stefan on his Instagram handle @attorney420
  • To watch the full IG live session, check the recording on our Instagram page @greeneasy.za
  • Read more about the latest updates with regards to the proposed bill here
  • *Remember that these are proposed laws and aren’t in effect yet.

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Product of the month

Infused Salted Caramel Syrup

This syrup is excellent when you pour into a hot glass of milk or a milkshake. Great taste that will get you elevated! This is a brand new product line we are introducing to you. Let us know what you think!

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Recipe of the Month – Infused Salted Caramel Cheesecake

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Ingredients

Caramel Sauce

  • 2 1/2 cups (518g) sugar
  • 10 tbsp (140g) salted butter, room temperature
  • 150ml – 200ml heavy whipping cream, room temperature
  • 6 tbsp (49g) all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 bottle (150ml) infused salted caramel syrup

Crust

  • 2 cups (268g) graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar

Filling

  • 24 oz (678g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (144g) light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp (24g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (230g) sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs

For Decoration ( and an extra kick )

Instructions

Caramel Sauce

1. To make the caramel sauce, pour the sugar into an even layer in a large saucier pan.
2. Heat on medium-high heat, whisking the sugar until melted. The sugar will clump up first, but will eventually completely melt. This should take about 10 minutes.
3. Once the sugar has melted, stop whisking and allow to cook until the sugar has turned to a little darker amber color. You may notice a nutty aroma. The change in color will happen quickly, so don’t let it go too long or get too dark or it’ll burn. Remove the caramel from the heat.
4. Add the butter and whisk until combined. The mixture will bubble up quite a bit, but keep whisking until all the butter has melted and combined.
5. Slowly pour the heavy cream into the caramel and whisk until incorporated. It can help to add just a bit at a time until the caramel starts to thin out, then you can add the rest. Whisk until well incorporated and smooth.
6. Add the infused caramel syrup and mix well.
7. Set about 1 1/2 cups of caramel sauce aside for topping. Add the flour to the remaining caramel and set that aside.

Crust

1. To make the cheesecake crust, preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Line a 9-inch (23cm) springform pan with parchment paper in the bottom and grease the sides.
2. Combine the crust ingredients in a small bowl. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan.
3. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.
4. Cover the outsides of the pan with aluminum foil so that water from the water bath cannot get in. Set prepared pan aside.
5. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F (148°C).
6. Pour the caramel sauce with the flour into the bottom of the crust and spread into an even layer.

Filling

1. To make the cheesecake filling, beat the cream cheese, brown sugar and flour in a large mixer bowl on low speed until well combined and smooth. Be sure to use low speed to reduce the amount of air added to the batter, which can cause cracks. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
2. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until well combined.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly to combine after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.
4. Pour the cheesecake batter into the crust, over the caramel.
5. Place the springform pan inside another larger pan. Fill the outside pan with enough warm water to go about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. The water should not go above the top edge of the aluminum foil on the springform pan.
6. Bake for 1 hour 45 minutes. The center should be set, but still jiggly.
7. Turn off the oven and leave the door closed for 30 minutes. The cheesecake will continue to cook, but slowly begin to cool as well.
8. Crack the door of the oven for 30 minutes to allow the cheesecake to continue to cool slowly. This process helps prevent cracking.
9. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and remove the water bath and wrapping.
10. Refrigerate cheesecake until completely cool and firm, 5-6 hours. When the cheesecake is cool and firm, remove it from the springform pan and place on a serving dish.

Decoration

1. Prior to serving, pour 1/2 a cup of the remaining caramel sauce over the cheesecake and sprinkle over some infused salted caramel popcorn (read packaging for dosage guide). Serve cheesecake slices with the remaining cup of caramel sauce, for drizzling.
2. Store cheesecake in the fridge. Cheesecake is best for 3-4 days.

Eat and enjoy
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