South Africa's highest court gives green light to private use of cannabis

Activists held marches over the years to demand that the law be changed

The law prohibiting the consumption of marijuana in home by adults is "unconstitutional and therefore null and void", said judge Raymond Zondo in reading the verdict unanimously by the highest court in South Africa.

The ruling saw pro-marijuana activists in the court's public gallery breaking into chants of "Weed are free now".

Here are the details.

The other issue is that Zondo reversed the Western Cape High Court ruling which declared the purchase of cannabis constitutionally invalid. They argued that the criminalisation of weed use "intrudes unjustifiably into their private spheres", which the court upheld.

In South Africa, selling marijuana is still very much against the law.

This also extended to cultivating cannabis in a private place for personal consumption in private.

They felt the court handing down a straight legalization ruling was a bit overbearing on the separation of powers dictated in the constitution, so the delay was meant to give lawmakers in South Africa time to remedy the problem. It found no persuasive medical evidence that dagga in small amounts was harmful to users, particularly compared to the harm resulting from use of alcohol.

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In April Zimbabwe became the second country in Africa, after Lesotho, to legalise the use of marijuana for medical use.

Legal expert, Vishalan Naidu, says pending dagga-related cases prior the court's ruling will not be affected.

Justice Zondo said he took into account worldwide law allowing the private use of marijuana at home.

Neil Webster of the Cannabis Development Council of SA said: "The solution we are advocating at the moment is we have to be forming guilds where you can get together and share amongst yourselves".

Following this ruling, the magistrate has up to 24 months to change the Drugs Act. The judgement now makes it legal for adults to smoke cannabis at home and also allows its cultivation for personal consumption.

"We use cannabis for anxiety, colic in children".

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