(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 5, 2018 a protester holds a flag with an image of a cannabis leaf during a protest calling for the legalisation of cannabis in South Africa in front of the South African Parliament in Cape Town. South Africa's top court will rule on September 18, 2018 on whether private cannabis use should be legal, the climax of a case that has pitted officials against marijuana advocates and the judiciary. A court in the Western Cape region ruled in March that a ban on cannabis use by adults at home was unconstitutional, effectively decriminalising it in the province that includes Cape Town. / AFP PHOTO / RODGER BOSCH

South Africa court legalises private cannabis use

Today, the South African court ruled that private, personal cannabis use is legal in a landmark case that has pitted officials against marijuana advocates and the judiciary.

The court also ordered parliament to draft new laws within 24 months to reflect the order. Today’s ruling will not decriminalize the use of the drug in public nor the offenses of supplying or dealing but cultivation for personal, private use will no longer be illegal for adults. Previously, possessing, growing or using marijuana — even in small quantities — could technically lead to jail time, a fine and a criminal record.

“It will not be a criminal offence for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in private for his or her personal consumption,” Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said, delivering the Johannesburg-based Constitutional Court’s unanimous verdict to cheers from the public gallery.

Use of cannabis and medicinal marijuana has gained popularity in some parts of the world to ease suffering from cancer, glaucoma, HIV and AIDS, and other serious conditions.

But opponents fear crime connected to drug abuse and users graduating to harder drugs. The country’s Medical Research Council has already launched trials to help guarantee quality, consistency, and standards, according to local media, Guardian Reports.

Last year, the Western Cape High Court decriminalized the use of marijuana at home. The court says it would be up to a police officer to decide if the amount of marijuana in someone’s possession is for dealing or personal consumption.

The Cannabis Development Council of South Africa welcomed the ruling and called on the government to drop charges against people found in possession of the drug. Jeremy Acton, the leader of the Dagga Party, which campaigns for the use of cannabis, said the ruling should have gone further to legalise the carrying of marijuana in public, BBC Africa reports.

Cannabis is referred to as “dagga” in South Africa.

Adedayo Laketu

Adedayo Laketu is a creative inventor who's interested in curating a New Age for Africa across all mediums.

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