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African Cannabis Frontier

Back to the Future

Cannabis could become Africa’s economic saviour, adding double digit growth to national output.  It would be return to a traditional crop which had been grown for 5000 years.

The UN has estimated that more than 10,000 tonnes of marijuana are produced in Africa each year, and those who advocate for its use believe the crop could be worth billions of dollars in the global market for legal cannabis.

A landmark ruling handed down by the constitutional court this week makes South Africa the third African country to decriminalise the use of a plant that is widely grown across the continent despite its predominately illegal status.

In September 2017 Lesotho became the first nation in Africa to legalise marijuana for medical and research purposes, and in April this year Zimbabwe followed suit. 

In Swaziland “dagga,” as it is known, already supports thousands of jobs. Legislators are actively considering legalisation for medical use.  

South Africa’s deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo’s ruling yesterday upheld a decision to legalise the use of marijuana at home that was made by the Western Cape province high court last year, but subsequently appealed by state prosecutors.

The government had argued against the legalisation of marijuana saying the drug was harmful to people’s health and not in line with South African values.

However, the court unanimously found that the country’s cannabis ban infringed on section 14 of the constitution, which gives all citizens the right to privacy.

“It will not be a criminal offence for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in a private space,” Mr Zondo said, before warning the drug may not be consumed in public, distributed or sold, or used by minors.

 The judgment does not specify how many grams of cannabis a person can use or have in private. Instead, the court tasked parliament with deciding on the amount people could possess, and gave the lower house 24 months to change the law.

The Cannabis Development Council of South Africa welcomed the ruling and called on government to drop charges against people currently accused by police of being in possession of the drug.

The government had argued against the legalisation of marijuana saying the drug was harmful to people’s health and not in line with South African values.

However, the court unanimously found that the country’s cannabis ban infringed on section 14 of the constitution, which gives all citizens the right to privacy.

“It will not be a criminal offence for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in a private space,” Mr Zondo said, before warning the drug may not be consumed in public, distributed or sold, or used by minors.

 The judgment does not specify how many grams of cannabis a person can use or have in private. Instead, the court tasked parliament with deciding on the amount people could possess, and gave the lower house 24 months to change the law.

The Cannabis Development Council of South Africa welcomed the ruling and called on government to drop charges against people currently accused by police of being in possession of the drug.

South Africa’s deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo’s ruling yesterday upheld a decision to legalise the use of marijuana at home that was made by the Western Cape province high court last year, but subsequently appealed by state prosecutors.

The government had argued against the legalisation of marijuana saying the drug was harmful to people’s health and not in line with South African values.

However, the court unanimously found that the country’s cannabis ban infringed on section 14 of the constitution, which gives all citizens the right to privacy.

“It will not be a criminal offence for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in a private space,” Mr Zondo said, before warning the drug may not be consumed in public, distributed or sold, or used by minors.

 The judgment does not specify how many grams of cannabis a person can use or have in private. Instead, the court tasked parliament with deciding on the amount people could possess, and gave the lower house 24 months to change the law.

The Cannabis Development Council of South Africa welcomed the ruling and called on government to drop charges against people currently accused by police of being in possession of the drug.

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