South Africa’s top court legalises private use of cannabis

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Government authorities have said cannabis is harmful and should be illegal.

Read: Canada has legalised marijuana, could South Africa follow suit?

However, leader of the Dagga Party, Gareth Prince says they will be challenging that High Court ruling that the cannabis laws as they now stand violate equality laws.

SA's Constitutional Court has now handed down its own decision, which should be the final say in the matter: Forget 4/20, it looks like 9/18 will be a more significant number for South African smokers now. "The judgement doesn't specify the amount that can be used by an adult in private use - this must be determined by Parliament", Chief Justice Zondo said in his statement, Marie Claire reports.

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The other issue is that Zondo reversed the Western Cape High Court ruling which declared the purchase of cannabis constitutionally invalid.

The "Dagga Couple", Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke, who joined the case, said their legal team would analyse the judgment and its definition of private use to determine where they stand.

The judgment decriminalises the use of dagga at home.

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.

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Previously, possessing, growing or using marijuana for personal use - even in small quantities - exposed users to fines of up to hundreds of dollars as well as jail time.

The high court had ordered Parliament to change the legislation within 24 months.

Lesotho and Zimbabwe have legalized marijuana for medical use.

Meanwhile, the wheels are in motion to commercialise hemp in South Africa.

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Judge Zondo said there were will be cases where it is obvious that the cannabis being held is intended for personal use, and cases where it's obvious that it is not.

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