Don’t light it up just yet
South Africa was set ablaze on Tuesday when the constitutional court ruled that cannabis use in private is no longer illegal. Marijuana users all over the country rejoiced. While we bask in the glow of this victory, we need to unpack what this ruling really means. So before you toke up, here’s what you need to know.
Private Spaces Only
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. This means that you cannot smoke weed in public spaces, no bus stops, no public parks.
You can grow or cultivate marijuana in a private space
Keeping in accordance with the right to privacy in our Bill of Rights, the court also ruled that cannabis can be cultivated in a private space. But what is a private space? “An example of cultivation of cannabis in a private place is the garden of one’s residence. It may or may not be that it can also be grown inside an enclosure or a room under certain circumstances. It may also be that one may cultivate it in a place other than in one’s garden if that place can be said to be a private place.”
It is still illegal to buy or sell weed
The ruling states repeatedly that you can grow, cultivate and smoke weed for private or personal use. You cannot grow or cultivate weed for the purpose of selling it. It is still not determined what the quantity is that will determine whether it is still for private use or whether the person has the intent to sell. Zondo said that it is up to the discretion of the police to decide whether or not the amount of weed is enough for personal use or is intended to be sold. He said that he will leave it up to parliament to decide what the quantity of cannabis that an adult person may use, possess or cultivate in order for it to amount to “personal use”.