The ConCourt has, in a landmark ruling, legalized the private use of marijuana in South Africa. That’s right, cannabis now legal in South Africa. The landmark ruling was made shortly after 10:15 on Tuesday.
The government appealed the Western Cape High Court’s 2017 ruling, which led to the postponement of its implementation to the following year. South Africa’s Constitutional Court has delivered its verdict on the matter.
Cannabis Now Legal in South Africa: How the Law Works
The government should have the bill officially published into law within the next 24 months. However, private use of dagga is lawful from Tuesday 18th September. Justice Zondo made it very clear that the decision on the quantities allowed rested with the ruling ANC Party.
“The judgment does not specify the amount that can be used by an adult in private use. This must be determined by parliament. It must be for the personal use of the person.”
Cannabis now legal to use within one’s home. For private use only. Selling the plant and smoking outside your private residence remains a contravention to the law.
According to the new law, adults are free to grow and use the plant on their properties. It is up to the government to come up with proper legislation detailing the taxation and the market in which the substance can be exchanged.
The Definition of Personal Use by South African Police
The landmark ruling has brought celebrations throughout South Africa. Many people have been waiting a long time for this to go through. However, questions still linger about how the judgment will be implemented.
Effectively, this law puts a stop to past oppressive pieces of legislation that have been blamed for defamation as well as the violation of travel and employment rights. At present, you are at liberty to smoke dagga in your house. However, your neighbours might still not agree with it as its been illegal for so long.
Difference Between Private Use and Possession
At the moment, if caught with dagga outside your home, the police will have to decide what action to take. They will base it on the quantity you have on you. Whether it looks like personal use or whether it looks like you are selling.
Furthermore, Judge Zondo also pointed out that personal use should also be defined based on the quantity of marijuana.
A police officer will continue to use reason to differentiate the personal use of cannabis based on quality and quantity involved. Judge Zondo acknowledged this while issuing the verdict.
“If a police officer finds a person in possession of cannabis and he or she thinks it is not satisfactory, he or she may arrest the person. Ultimately, it will be the court that will decide whether the person possessed the cannabis for personal consumption.”
In essence, the courts will have to make a ruling on whether or not to jail people arrested by police for being in possession of marijuana with an intent to sell. A similar scenario applies to the cultivation of dagga.
The judgment clearly states that any contravention to the strict law is unlawful and punishable by law.