- The Constitutional Court delivered a landmark ruling earlier which decriminalises the private use of dagga
- The court did not rule on how many grams of dagga a person will be allowed to use or carry
- The court further ruled that the current act regulating the use of dagga was unconstitutional and gave Parliament 24 months to make the necessary changes
The Constitutional Court has delivered a landmark ruling in which it decriminalises the private use of dagga. The ruling means it will not be a criminal offence for South Africans adults to use dagga in private or to grow the plant at home for private use.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo ruled that the right to privacy should not be limited to the home or private dwelling and should be extended to any private space. The court did not rule on how many grams an adult will be allowed to use or more crucially carry.
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.
Briefly.co.za gathered that Zondo said in his ruling that it was now incumbent on the ANC-led government to specify in the amended act how much dagga a person can use and carry. Zondo said these figures should be strictly based on personal use.
Thesouthafrican.com reported that although private use and growth for personal use is now legal it remains illegal to smoke dagga outside of a private setting and dealing or selling dagga still remains a prosecutable offence.
The ruling goes into immediate effect.
News24.com reported that the Constitutional Court ruling follows a similar ruling by the Western Cape High Court last year which ruled that the private use and cultivation of dagga was not illegal.
The government opposed the judgement based on a flimsy argument that the use of dagga was not in keeping with the values of South Africa and the society which inhabits the country.
The Court was presented with sound medical evidence which showed that alcohol abuse and misuse was more damaging to individuals and families than dagga. The state additionally failed to produce any useful data to show that criminalising dagga use had led to a reduction in private usage.
The Western Cape High Court additionally ordered that all pending prosecutions for personal possession of dagga were suspended in the interim period.
The Constitutional Court ruling was unanimous.
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