South Africa legalises private growing and smoking of weed at home

19 September, 2018, 01:59 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • South Africa’s Constitutional Court has ruled that personal use of marijuana is not a criminal offence

The ruling was a confirmation of a 2017 Western Cape High Court judgment that afforded the applicants the right to use the herb in the privacy of their homes freely.

When asked what the ruling meant for the Rastafarian community, Prince smiled and said: "No more arrest man, no more police constantly having eyes on us".

The Constitutional Court has handed down its judgement on the private use of marijuana.

Today, the Constitutional Court has agreed, effectively making the personal possession, cultivation and use of cannabis at home legal - or at the very least, decriminalised.

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

It found that the country's cannabis ban infringed on section 14 of the South African constitution which gives all citizens the right to privacy.


Previously, possessing, growing or using marijuana for personal use - even in small quantities - exposed users to fines of up to hundreds of dollars as well as jail time.

The potential implications of the binding judgment are enormous, and unpredictable - particularly in terms of the criminal justice system, which routinely locks up thousands of overwhelmingly poor South Africans for using or dealing in small amounts of cannabis. But the police, who argued against this change, will worry that the ruling will create more ambiguity and send the wrong signal to criminals.

The ruling further declared that the current act which regulates the use of dagga was unconstitutional and instructed Parliament to make the necessary amendments to the act within 24 months of the date of the court's ruling.

The order does not extend to use and possession of cannabis by a child, or by an adult in public.

The Constitutional Court dispensed with the High Court's limitation of its order to the use, cultivation or possession of cannabis at home or in private dwelling.

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