The constitutional court in South Africa on Tuesday delivered a judgment that private use of marijuana, locally referred to as dagga, is not a criminal offence.
"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". According to a report by the U.S. state department, South Africa is a large source of herbal cannabis for the United Kingdom and continental Europe.
The landmark ruling follows an appeal by the South African government against a lower court ruling, that legalised private dagga use, in 2017.
But, these are extreme situations on opposite sides of the spectrum.
Yet, until such time as the ANC outlines definite protocol regarding quantity and quality, police officers are forced to apply reason to the scenario.
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This also extended to cultivating cannabis in a private place for personal consumption in private. But ultimately, it would be up to the court to decide whether the person in possession of cannabis had the intent to deal it, or use it for his/her consumption.
The court upheld a decision made the Western Cape High Court previous year which ruled that personal use of marijuana should be legal.
If the person is suspected of dealing, Judge Zondo said the police officer may arrest the person. The exact same applies to the cultivation of the plant.
The judgment decriminalises the use of dagga at home. Still, it's likely that a far lesser amount could lead to suspicion and possible arrest if found in one's possession in public.