South Africa legalises cannabis use

Supporters of the legislation of marijuana celebrate after the Constitutional Court ruled that the personal use and growing of marijuana in South Africa is legal Johannesburg South Africa 18 September 2018

The Constitutional Court of South Africa has declared that penalizing possession, use and cultivation of cannabis for personal consumption in private is unconstitutional as it infringes an individual's right to privacy.

South Africa has become the latest nation to legalise recreational cannabis use - but selling the drug remains a criminal offence.

Here are the details.

South Africa's Dagga Party won a court case a year ago permitting cannabis smoking in homes, paving the way for Tuesday's ruling.

South Africa is now the third country on the continent to legalize marijuana in some form.

The judgement did not say how much cannabis one may have at home for private use.

In the world, the legal status of the use of cannabis varies greatly. There will also be cases where it will be clear from all the circumstances that the possession of cannabis by a person is not or can not be for personal consumption or use.

But there are still lots of uncertainties that need to be cleared up before South Africans can use marijuana without fear of prosecution.

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Judges of the Supreme Court voted unanimously in favour of the legalisation of the controversial herb for private use only.

It found provisions of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act inconsistent with the right to privacy in prohibiting the cultivation of cannabis by an adult in a private place for personal consumption in private.

In the west, Africa is perceived non-progressive and conservative, but South Africa might be on the verge of further changing that narrative.

It seems several ministries, who opposed the decriminalisation of dagga for private use, have been caught on the back foot. Multiple government departments appealed and wanted weed use at home to remain illegal.

Zondo also said that the court "must invoke its powers under the Constitution to order a suspension of the declaration of invalidity for a realistic period to ensure Parliament may correct the defect".

Last year, Lesotho legalized the production of cannabis.

Per the court's ruling, South Africans are free to smoke weed and even grow it for private use.

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