ConCourt judgment could see marijuana ruling go up in flames

Clay Curtis
September 18, 2018

South Africa's Constitutional Court has ruled that the personal use of cannabis is not a criminal offence.

As to how a police officer would know whether the amount of cannabis in the possession of an adult is or is not for that adult person's personal consumption, the Court held that a police officer would have to consider all the circumstances including the quantity of cannabis found in an adult person's possession.

"The effect of the judgement of this court is to decriminalise the use or possession of cannabis by an adult in private or that adult person's consumption in private".

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

Celebrations broke out in the court, which was packed with marijuana advocates and members of South Africa's Rastafarian community.

The Constitutional Court has upheld the Western Cape High Court's ruling from previous year.

"If a police officer finds a person in possession of cannabis and he or she thinks it is not for personal consumption, he or she will ask the person such questions as may be necessary to satisfy himself or herself whether the cannabis he or she is in possession of is for personal consumption", Zondo said.

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According to a report by News24, the 2017 ruling allows for the possession, cultivation, and use of dagga at home for private use.

In Zimbabwe, Marijuana use and possession is still illegal although the government has allowed the farming of the drug for medicinal use. "It is certainly a momentous day".

"We are looking forward to telling the police to leave us alone now", said Clarke on the decriminalisation of private use.

Parliament will have to determine what quantity of cannabis may be used for private consumption or cultivation.

"This Court must invoke its powers under s 172 (1) (b) of the Constitution to order a suspension of the declaration of invalidity for a realistic period to ensure Parliament may correct the defect".

If Parliament fails to do so within the period, the order that Zondo handed down on September 18 will become final.

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