Per­sonal use of Mar­i­juana le­galised

Inner City Gazette - - News - By Staff Re­porter news@in­ner-city-gazette.co.za

The Con­sti­tu­tional Court has ruled that the use and cul­ti­va­tion of mar­i­juana for per­sonal use is le­gal.

In a land­mark judg­ment de­liv­ered on Tues­day morn­ing, the apex court de­clared sec­tion 4(b) and sec­tion 5(b) of the Drugs Act and sec­tion 22A(9)(a)(i) of the Medicines Act con­sti­tu­tion­ally in­valid.

The rul­ing up­held a de­ci­sion made by the Western Cape High Court which de­clared legislation crim­i­nal­is­ing the use, pos­ses­sion, and cul­ti­va­tion of cannabis un­con­sti­tu­tional.

“The ef­fect of the judg­ment is two-fold; it de­crim­i­nalises the use or pos­ses­sion of cannabis by an adult in pri­vate for that adult per­son’s per­sonal con­sump­tion in pri­vate; and it de­crim­i­nalises the cul­ti­va­tion of cannabis by an adult in a pri­vate place for that adult’s per­sonal con­sump­tion in pri­vate,” said Deputy Chief Jus­tice Ray­mond Zondo. The unan­i­mous judg­ment de­liv­ered by Jus­tice Zondo held that the crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion of mar­i­juana in a per­son’s home or pri­vate dwelling in­fringed on the right to pri­vacy. Fol­low­ing the rul­ing, it would be deemed in­cor­rect to charge an adult un­der the three sec­tions.

The court sus­pended the order of in­va­lid­ity for a pe­riod of 24 months, to give Par­lia­ment an op­por­tu­nity to cor­rect the con­sti­tu­tional de­fects in the two Acts.

The ball is now in Par­lia­ment’s court to de­ter­mine the amount of dagga that an adult may use, pos­sess or cul­ti­vate in order for it to amount to “per­sonal use”.

Once Par­lia­ment has cor­rected the de­fects, the Court said po­lice of­fi­cers as en­forcers of the law must con­sider all the cir­cum­stances and the quan­tity of cannabis found in an adult per­son’s pos­ses­sion in order to charge them.

“If the po­lice of­fi­cer, on rea­son­able grounds, sus­pects that the per­son con­cerned is in pos­ses­sion of that cannabis for deal­ing and not for per­sonal con­sump­tion, the of­fi­cer may ar­rest the per­son, but a court will ul­ti­mately de­cide whether the per­son was in pos­ses­sion of cannabis with the in­tent to deal, or for their own per­sonal con­sump­tion,” said Zondo.

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