Concourt rules in favour of personal, private use of dagga

South Africa’s Constitutional Court has ruled that personal use of marijuana is not a criminal offence

SA Constitutional Court Says Using And Growing Mbanje For Private Use Is Legal

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 right to privacy is not confined to a home or private dwelling".

The Cannabis Development Council of South Africa welcomed the ruling, and called on the government to drop charges against people found in possession of the drug.

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"The effect of the judgement of this court is to decriminalise the use or possession of cannabis by an adult in private or that adult person's consumption in private".

"The judgment does not specify how many grams of cannabis can a person use or have in private".

Pro-marijuana activists cheered in the public gallery and chanted when the Constitutional Court gave its landmark ruling.

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The Western Cape High Court additionally ordered that all pending prosecutions for personal possession of dagga were suspended in the interim period.

Parliament will have to address the constitutional defects in the Drugs Act and Medecins Act in the next 24 months in the statutory provisions in this judgment.

The court accepted medical studies that showed alcohol caused more harm than weed and that there was little data to show that criminalising weed reduced harmful use. It held that the right to privacy extends beyond the boundaries of a home. In addition to this, parliament has been given two years to change sections of both the drug trafficking act and the medicine controls act.

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In his judgment, Zondo said that it would at the discretion of the police officer to determine if an individual carrying cannabis outside of home was using it for personal and private consumption or for dealing.

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