Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Africa & World

South Africa’s Supreme Court Legalises Private Use of Cannabis

The Supreme court has legalized the private use of marijuana, upholding a lower court’s ruling that found the criminalization of cannabis was unconstitutional.

In delivering the Constitutional Court’s unanimous verdict, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Tuesday declared the law banning marijuana use in private by adults “is unconstitutional and therefore invalid”.

“It will not be a criminal offence for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in private for his or her personal consumption,” he said in Johannesburg.

The court also ordered parliament to draft new laws within 24 months to reflect the order.

However, the judgement did not specify the amount that can be used by an adult in private use.

Activists, including members of the Rastafarian movement and traditional healers, greeted the ruling with loud applause.

Outside, pro-cannabis campaigners lit pipes and rolled joints to celebrate the news, filling the air with the distinctive aroma of marijuana.

“I’m happy I won’t be getting any more criminal records for possession,” Ruaan Wilson, 29, told AFP before pausing for a puff.

“Now, we can get police to focus on real drugs and thugs,” he added.

A court in Western Cape had ruled in March 2017 that a ban on cannabis use by adults at home was unconstitutional, a move that effectively decriminalised it in the province, which includes Cape Town.

But the ministers of justice, police, health and trade challenged that finding, arguing that there was “objective proof of the harmful effects of cannabis”.

Activists have held marches over the years to demand that the law be changed to allow people to smoke “weed”, which is called “dagga” in South Africa.

But opponents fear crime connected to drug abuse and users graduating to harder drugs.

They also cite medical research which suggests a link between heavy use of marijuana and psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

The country’s Medical Research Council has already launched trials to help guarantee quality, consistency and standards, according to local media.

“We have used cannabis to treat anxiety, colic in children and as an antiseptic in secret for many years,” said Phephsile Maseko, of the Traditional Healers Organisation.

“Now we will be able to develop the plant even further.”

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. Penalties for selling it were far higher.

Trending Stories

News

A new COVID conspiracy theory is making the rounds, the theory is linking the ongoing global pandemic with the rollout of 5G communications networks....

International

Boris Johnson has been moved to intensive care after his condition worsened, Downing Street has said. The prime minister was admitted to St Thomas’...

News

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo has announced that the government will take care of water bills of all Ghanaians for the next 3 months. Addressing...

News

Ghana has confirmed nine additional COVID-19 cases; six from Greater Accra and three from Ashanti region. This brings the total confirmed cases to 214....

News

Northern Regional Minister Salifu Sa-eed has banned prostitution in Tamale with immediate effect. This comes after a Guinean national who tested positive for the...

News

Jacques Joaquim Yhombi-Opango, former president of the Republic of the Congo, has died after contracting coronavirus, his family said. Yhombi-Opango died in a Paris...

News

The Northern Regional Minister, Salifu Saeed, has confirmed that a coronavirus patient who was under quarantine in his region has fled the facility, leaving...

News

Sixteen persons have been arrested in Kasoa in the Central Region for failing to give tangible reasons why they were in town during the...

News

A video of a young man paying dearly for refusing to adhere to the directives of the president to remain indoors has emerged barely...

News

President Nana Akufo-Addo has earned massive praise from some prominent people around the world over list latest statement on the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). President...

News

There are now more than 3,200 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the continent, with a number of African countries imposing a range of prevention...

News

The President for Institute of Liberty and Policy Innovation (ILAPI), Mr Peter Bismark, has stated that Ghana requires GH₡15 billion for 28 days’ total...

Copyright © 2020 GhanaStar Media Group. All rights reserved