In August 2017, Western Cape High Court judge Dennis Davids found a ban on the use of dagga at home to be “against the constitutional right to privacy”. Judge Davids ruled that cannabis be legalised for home use. The case was brought forward by Garreth Prince and IQELA LENTSANGO: The Dagga Party of South Africa leader Jeremy Acton. The Constitutional Court had 24 months to announce its judgement on the court’s ruling. In the interim, the WC High Court ruled that those found in possession of marijuana, for personal use in their own homes, would be able to use the defense of invasion of privacy against any charges.
Today, just over a year later, the South African Constitutional Court ruled (at 10:15am) that marijuana has been legalised for personal use.
— KhayelihleKhumalo (@KhayaJames) September 18, 2018
918 is the new 420
But before you light up in public, read on!
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo handed down the judgement saying: “The judgement doesn’t specify the amount that can be used by an adult in private use – this must be determined by Parliament. It must be for the personal use of the person.”
The ruling is not yet law – the South African Parliament is expected to have the bill finalised within two years. “In the meantime”, Times Live reports, “the court specified it has granted interim relief that allows personal use at home”. The new law will require two existing bills to be reviewed and amended: the Drug Trafficking Act and the Medicines Control Act.
Still no deal on Marijuana
Marijuana has been decriminalised but, says The South African, “Dealing marijuana, selling it on to others or smoking it outside the confines of your own home remains an illegal practice.” Other technicalities such as how much one is allowed to possess, grow and more are yet to be outlined. According to current law, personal possession is anything under 100 grams.
A quick look at the top Tweets under the trending #Dagga tag shows a positive public reaction to the news:
Constitutional Court rules that persons can smoke in the privacy of their homes.
Legislation should be amended accordingly as the Drugs Act is unconstitutional pic.twitter.com/tmbQn6iPTb
— Tumi Sole (@tumisole) September 18, 2018
South Africa’s constitutional court has ruled that the private use of marijuana is legal. This has the potential to free up lots of police resources, to reduce police corruption, and to reduce unnecessary conflict between police and the public. #marijuana #dagga @SAPoliceService pic.twitter.com/GgVl6Fh3pH
— Andrew Faull (@AGFaull) September 18, 2018
— food24.com (@food24) September 18, 2018
— Khumalo prince (@SendUrLocation) September 18, 2018
— Man’s Not Uncle Brutus (@MolawaMj) September 18, 2018
The decision to legalise cannabis locally follows growing international laws allowing private use, Justice Raymond Zondo said. It is also based on the main points brought forward during the original case showing findings stating that “alcohol caused more harm than dagga and that there was little data to show that criminalising dagga reduced harmful use”.