South Africa’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, has upheld the private use of marijuana, ruling that its ban was unconstitutional.
In a unanimous judgment read by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the apex court decriminalized home consumption, saying “the use of cannabis must be for the personal consumption of the adult”. The ruling also approved growing marijuana for personal consumption.
The court held it would not be a criminal offence for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in private for their personal consumption in private. The judgement however, did not specify the amount that can be used by an adult in private use as the court left that decision for Parliament when it amends the laws which criminalize cannabis also called dagga.
Activists had argued that the criminalization of dagga use and possession is a violation of the right to equality, dignity, and freedom of religion and the Constitutional Court judgement was a result of litigation filed by activists and marijuana enthusiasts.
South Africa joins the ranks of countries like the United States, Canada, Mexico, Colombia and Uruguay where cannabis is permitted in controlled quantities for private use.