South Africa’s highest court on Tuesday allowed the private use of marijuana, upholding a lower court’s ruling that found the criminalisation of cannabis was unconstitutional.
Activists who include members of the Rastafarian movement and traditional healers greeted the ruling with loud applause.
They 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.
Several government departments, including the health and justice ministries, oppose its legalisation and warn of harmful effects.
But in a unanimous judgment read by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the Constitutional Court decriminalised 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.
Rastafarian Garreth Prince and former Dagga Party leader Jeremy Acton brought the case asking the High Court to allow for the home use of marijuana.
Jules Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke‚ known as the “Dagga Couple”, joined the case, and asked the court to strike down laws banning the use‚ cultivation and sale of marijuana.