19 September 2018

South Africa: What Next? 'We Won the Battle On Cannabis, but the War Isn't Over'


The landmark Constitutional Court judgment on cannabis has created a number of legal grey areas likely to be tested in court as Parliament has two years to define what "personal use" and "private space" mean. Activists, meanwhile, are pushing to change the whole system.

The Constitutional Court's ruling on Monday decriminalising some laws around adults' cultivation and use of cannabis was welcomed by lawyers and activists, but they say the court's reluctance to prescribe specifics around cannabis use introduces legal uncertainty during the 24 months Parliament has to change legislation.

The court ordered that the legislature decriminalise the use or possession of cannabis by adults for their personal use and decriminalise its cultivation by adults for their personal consumption in private.

While the judgment has immediate effect, lawyers and activists said they are prepared to challenge the police, NPA and courts as the authorities use their discretion to decide how much cannabis someone can have for their personal use and how a private space is defined.

Paul-Michael Keichel from Schindlers Attorneys worked on the case and said the court put no strict definition on what a private space where someone can use cannabis is....

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