- The ACDP wants Parliament to hold an urgent debate following the Constitutional Court’s decriminalisation of marijuana on Tuesday
- ACDP leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe said he does not believe the majority of ordinary South Africans are in favour of the ruling
- Meshoe said it was imperative for Parliament to make its position on the matter crystal clear
The leader of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) Reverend Kenneth Meshoe wants Parliament to urgently debate Tuesday's Constitutional Court ruling which decriminalised the private use and growth of marijuana/dagga/zol.
Meshoe reaffirmed that his party was completely and utterly opposed to the ruling and said he firmly believed that the majority of ordinary South Africans shared the ACDP’s view on the matter because of the high rate of youth drug addiction.
Meshoe said Parliament needed to meet urgently in order to discuss the ruling and to make its position on the matter crystal clear.
Briefly.co.za gathered that Meshoe said the ruling was a blow to efforts by social groups and Parliament to alleviate the high rate of drug and alcohol abuse in the country. He added that drug addiction had been directly linked to increases in violent crimes in poverty-stricken communities.
IOL.co.za reported that Meshoe said the crime statistics released last week showed that drug-related crimes had dramatically increased by 30 981 cases in 2017/18.
Meshoe said Parliament needed to consult with the public to determine whether given all the relevant facts whether the ruling was in the best interest of ordinary South Africans.
Meshoe said he had spoken to doctors who had been adamant in their assessment that the use of dagga was damaging to people’s health and had the potential to devastate family homes. Meshoe said he was aware of cases where young people had stolen household goods in order to pay for their addiction.
During arguments, the Constitutional Court was presented with compelling medical evidence which showed that alcohol abuse was far more damaging to individuals and families than dagga use.
On Tuesday, the highest court in the land ruled unanimously to decriminalise the personal use and cultivation of dagga by adults. The court ordered Parliament to amend the current act to make provisions for this ruling.
The court said it would be up to Parliament to establish how much dagga an adult could use and carry for personal use. The court warned that these figures should be strictly based on personal use.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said the ruling additionally found that the right to privacy should not be confined to a private dwelling or home and should include any private space.
Parliament has been given 24 months to make the necessary amendments to the laws, in the interim South African adults are free to grow and smoke dagga at home. Smoking dagga in public and dealing in dagga remain illegal.
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