South Africa’s highest court gives green light to private use of cannabis

South Africa’s highest court on Tuesday allowed the private use of marijuana, upholding a lower court’s ruling that found the criminalization of cannabis was unconstitutional. Anna Bevan reports.

Celebratory cheers and hugs in South Africa, after the country’s highest court approves the private use of marijuana.

Activists including members of the Rastafarian movement and traditional healers welcomed the ruling.

They’ve been marching for years to have weed – known locally as ‘dagga’ legalized.


“If you possess for private use in your car or on the street they can’t take you – that is what they confirmed today.”

But not everyone is in favor of the court’s decision.

Several government departments, including the ministries of health and justice oppose it, warning of the harmful effects of cannabis.

But in a unanimous ruling, the Constitutional Court decriminalized the personal, adult, consumption of marijuana at home.

Reuters Patricia Aruo is in Johannesburg.


“The ruling means south Africans can light up a joint in their homes or grow marijuana for private use at home. Two of South Africa’s neighbors have already legalized the use of cannabis. Lesotho was the first country to allow the legal use of marijuana. In May this year, Zimbabwe became the second African nation to legalize growing marijuana for medicinal and research purposes.”

The court gave parliament two years to amend the country’s laws on marijuana and decide on exactly how much cannabis can be consumed.

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