South Africa’s Constitutional Court has ruled in favor of the legalization of cannabis use in the country. The ruling comes as three cannabis users, who were being prosecuted for possession of the drug, argued that the ban “intrudes unjustifiably into their private spheres.”
While many in South Africa have celebrated the ruling, which is now legally binding, the country’s government isn’t too pleased. Over the past few years, it has argued that the drug is “harmful” while also being a danger to people’s health and the public good. However, the government has not yet commented on the Constitutional Courts ruling.
However, that doesn’t mean that the law will be as clear-cut as it is in some countries where cannabis is legal. The Court’s ruling means that it will be legal to grow it for personal use, as well as to have it on your person in a private setting. That being said, the legality of buying and selling the drug is unclear. By many accounts, it will remain illegal to profit from the sale of marijuana. It’s also still illegal to possess cannabis in public.
Because of that, many fear that it won’t have much of an impact on the drug trade in South Africa. Furthermore, many are worried that it will just make drug gangs more emboldened when it comes to buying and selling cannabis. As it stands, drug gangs are a major problem across many areas of South Africa. This has been why many have been wary about legalizing any drugs in the past.
That being said, the Constitutional Court’s ruling focuses more on the issue of privacy than drug legislation itself. In its ruling, the Court focused on the use of cannabis in a private setting, such as at home. When the ruling was made, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said: “It will not be a criminal offense for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in private for his or her personal consumption.”
This ruling has been welcomed by parties who advocate for the full legalization of cannabis in South Africa. However, they claim that it’s only a small step on the road to full legalization. They’re also looking for many who were charged with possession of cannabis to have their charges dropped because of the new law.