ConCourt decriminalises private dagga use, rules current act is unconstitutional

Pexels  Isabella Mendes

The Western Cape High Court a year ago made a landmark ruling, declaring that it is an infringement to ban the use of dagga by adults in their private homes.

The judgement repeatedly states that the ruling only applies to private use of marijuana, ruling out public consumption of the drug.

South Africa's government's had opposed its legalisation, arguing the drug was "harmful" to people's the health.

"The order also makes clear that the relevant provisions are only unconstitutional to the extent that they trench upon the private use and consumption of a quantity of cannabis for personal purposes, which the legislative considers does not constitute undue harm".

South Africa is a large source of herbal cannabis for the United Kingdom and continental Europe.

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe says he wants parliament to hold an urgent debate following the Constitutional Court's ruling today that it is legal to cultivate and consume cannabis at home for personal use.

The court did not rule on how many grams an adult will be allowed to use or more crucially carry. It's about time that South Africans move along with the times and start using what is most valuable.

Parliament would have to decide on this, it said. In delivering the judgment, Justice Raymond Zondo gave Parliament 24 months to correct the constitutional defect.

"It will not be a criminal offence for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in private for his or her personal consumption", he said in Johannesburg.

South Africa is the third country in Africa to legalise cannabis, following Lesotho in September 2017, and in Zimbabwe in April this year.

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