Recently, South Africa’s highest court upheld a lower court’s ruling that found the criminalisation unconstitutional. This means the private use of marijuana in the country is legal.
The ruling has been greeted with loud applause by notable activists in the country, particularly members of the Rastafarian movement and traditional healers.
Prior to the the ruling, these activists have held marches over the years to demand a review of the law and solicited people should be allowed to smoke cannabis substance which is largely addressed as ‘weed’ and ‘dagga’ in South Africa.
Their protest and pleas struck dead walls as government departments, including the health and justice ministries, opposed the legalisation in private usage of the substance with warning of its harmful effects.
These activists argued that the criminalisation of dagga use and possession is a violation of the right to equality, dignity, and freedom of religion.
But in a unanimous judgement, read by the Deputy Chief Justice the Constitutional Court decriminalised home consumption, saying “the use of cannabis must be for the personal consumption of the adult.”
The ruling also approved growing of marijuana for personal consumption, but did not specify the amount that can be used by an adult in private use.
South Africa’s Parliament is now expected to amend the laws that criminalise cannabis following the court ruling.