18 September 2018

South Africa: 'Parliament Will Consider New Dagga Bill'

Photo: Parliament
South African Parliament.

Parliament is considering introducing a new bill after dagga for private use was legalised on Tuesday.

The Constitutional Court on Tuesday ruled that the personal use of dagga is not a criminal offence.

"The right to privacy is not confined to a home or private dwelling. It will not be a criminal offence for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in private space," Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said in his ruling.

The court gave Parliament 24 months to update legislation relating to marijuana to be in line with its ruling.

"Parliament notes the judgment today by the Constitutional Court on the use of dagga or cannabis in private homes and the 24-month period within which the national legislature is expected to rectify constitutional defects in the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act of 1992 and the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act of 1965," it said in a statement.

"This could entail Parliament introducing a new bill. Alternatively, the executive, who were party to the litigation, could introduce a new bill to give effect to the order of the court."

Parliament said it was in possession of the judgment and that "the relevant structures in Parliament would take a decision on the matter to give effect to the judgment".

"As required by the Constitution, the public will have an opportunity to make submissions during the processes in Parliament."

Key laws debated in the Western Cape High Court in 2017 were the Drugs Act sections 4 (b) and 5 (b) as well as section 22A of the Medicines Act.

The court ultimately found that: "This Court must invoke its powers under s 172 (1) (b) of the Constitution to order a suspension of the declaration of invalidity for a realistic period to ensure Parliament may correct the defect. In my view, a period of 24 months from the date of this judgment would be appropriate."

One of the issues Parliament will have to clarify is exactly how much marijuana a person can legally have in their possession for personal use.

Source: News24

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