Published: Fri, September 21, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

South Africans on a high after top court legalises cannabis use

South Africans on a high after top court legalises cannabis use

In March a year ago, the Western Cape High Court ruled that personal use of marijuana (that's Dagga to you and me) should be legal, declaring that bans on the usage of dagga by adults in private homes are unconstitutional.

The decision of the constitutional Court of south africa falls in line with the recommendations of the United Nations, which in 2016 was called on States to "review their policies" in the field of cannabis after decades of repression.

In 2017, a court in the western Cape province (south) had held unconstitutional the prohibition for adults to consume cannabis at home. "The judgement doesn't specify the amount that can be used by an adult in private use - this must be determined by Parliament", Chief Justice Zondo said in his statement, Marie Claire reports. Acton says there will likely need to be some licensing process to determine which private spaces can legally host cannabis consumers.

It seems several ministries, who opposed the decriminalisation of dagga for private use, have been caught on the back foot. Government authorities had however said marijuana is harmful and should be illegal.

The court thus gave parliament 24 months to change the law to reflect its ruling.

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It is also significant to note that the laws that had reduced dagga smoking in Africa to an act of crime were inspired by colonial sensibilities.

The court emphasized that unconstitutionality was only to the extent where those specific sections prohibit the use, possession, purchase or cultivation of cannabis by an adult person in a private dwelling for his or her consumption.

The state appealed to the Constitutional Court, which upheld the high court's findings.

South Africa follows in the footsteps of Canada, where recreational consumption of cannabis will become legal on 17 October. The Rastafarians in South Africa have also been ecstatic with the news of legalization.

The official line is that adults are allowed to grow, use and cultivate the substance on their own property.

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