Top court legalises bhang use in landmark ruling

South Africa’s Constitutional Court has ruled that personal use of marijuana is not a criminal offence

South Africa’s Constitutional Court has ruled that personal use of marijuana is not a criminal offence

In March a year ago, the Western Cape High Court ruled that personal use of marijuana (that's Dagga to you and me) should be legal, declaring that bans on the usage of dagga by adults in private homes are unconstitutional.

In a unanimous ruling, judges also legalised the growing of marijuana for private consumption.

The court said laws against it were inconsistent with the country's constitution. Multiple government departments appealed and wanted weed use at home to remain illegal.

The Constitutional Court has handed down its judgement on the private use of marijuana, as reported by eNCA.

Tuesday's ruling follows a judgment that the possession, cultivation and use of dagga for private use was allowed.

Cannabis is referred to as "dagga" in South Africa.

The ruling further declared that the current act which regulates the use of dagga was unconstitutional and instructed Parliament to make the necessary amendments to the act within 24 months of the date of the court's ruling.

The breakthrough for South African cannabis users came just a day after USA soft drinks giant Coca-Cola confirmed it was studying the use of a key ingredient in marijuana to make "wellness beverages".

It is possible that the ruling, by allowing users to grow their own marijuana at home, could undermine the stranglehold of powerful drug gangs that blight so many communities.

The order does not extend to use and possession of cannabis by a child, or by an adult in public.

The Western Cape High Court also ordered that in the interim period, prosecutions for personal dagga possession as described in its judgment should be stayed.

Zondo said that this reading-in will apply until such time as Parliament fixes the Constitutional defect in the case.

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