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Laws for South Africa

Location: Africa, South Africa
Type: Medical and Recreational
Legal Age: 18
Legal Date: 18th September 2018

Brief History: 

  • In a landmark judgement, The Constitutional Court of South Africa decriminalized Cannabis on the 18th of September 2018. Some advocates pressured the government to modify its laws, which first restricted cannabis in 1908.
  • Use of the plant was associated with traditional African populations and lower economic status.
  • In 2003, Interpol rated South Africa as the fourth-largest cannabis producer in the world.
  • On 31 March 2017, in a case brought by Gareth Prince, Jeremy Acton, and Jonathan Ruben before the Western Cape High Court, presiding Judge Dennis Davis ruled that any law disallowing the use and cultivation of cannabis by an adult in a private dwelling was unconstitutional and therefore invalid.
  • On the 18th September 2018, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, in a trial held at the constitutional court, declared that after a unanimous judgement that the personal use, possession, and cultivation of Cannabis in a private dwelling was decriminalised and gave parliament 24 months to adjust the correlating legislation.

Law and Limitations:
The whole cannabis plant, Cannabis Sativa L, seed, stalk, and flower is legal for personal use, possession and cultivation within a private dwelling in South Africa.

This decision was confirmed by the Constitutional Court, on the 18th of September 2018, Deputy Chief Justice Zondo declared that Sections 4(b) and 5(b) of the Drugs Act, and Section 22A(9)(a)(i) of the Medicines Act were unconstitutional and invalid, to the extent that it prohibits the use or possession of cannabis by an adult in private for the adult's personal consumption in private.

Zondo said the Constitutional Court held these statutory provisions to be constitutionally invalid, to the extent indicated, because they infringed on the right to privacy entrenched in Section 14 of the Constitution. The limited decriminalization of cannabis will affect sections of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act, the Drugs Act, and the Medicines and Related Substances Act. Parliament has been given 24months to change the legislation surrounding Cannabis.

It would therefore not be a criminal offense to use or be in possession of cannabis for personal consumption, in a private space. Space is yet to be defined.

Possession of cannabis is legal in your yet to be defined as private space.

Purchasing Limit:
The purchasing limit has not yet been defined by SA law.

What do you need in order to Purchase: N/A

The Constitutional Court’s ruling is that people may use cannabis only at their homes.

Dealing cannabis in South Africa is still illegal. In a document released by the South African Police Service, it has been stated that the arrests made for the possession of dagga with suspicion of dealing can only be carried out if the individual was carrying 3kgs worth of cannabis.

Cannabis grows well in South Africa's climate, especially in the "dagga belt", an area including the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces where, per the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, it is a traditional crop. It is legal to grow Cannabis in your own home, granted it is for your own personal use.

Medicines Control Council:
The South African regulatory body for drugs, the Medicines Control Council, used to classify cannabis as a Schedule 7 substance, which meant that it had no medicinal value and was illegal to cultivate, analyze, possess, research, use, sell or supply without authorization from the Department of Health.

In 2016, it published regulations providing for the use of cannabis for medical reasons and expressed a desire to reclassify "cannabinoid medication" as a Schedule 6 substance, which would make it available for medicinal use.

In January 2016, following a systematic review of scientific studies on cannabis, the Medicine Research Council concluded that there was evidence that cannabinoids could be used to treat chronic pain and spasticity in multiple sclerosis.

Section 21, from Medical Control Council South Africa (MCC). Application to legally obtain cannabis for medical purposes. To date there has only ever been one successful Section 21 Application, granted to a dying man.

There are no walk-in stores. Be wary, do your homework before purchasing cannabis products online.

You can buy flowers/buds online. More expensive high-grade cannabis flowers/buds are bought from your, local “dealer”. Cheaper landrace strains from Swaziland, Lesotho, Malawi and Transkei are mainly sold on the “streets”.

Cannabis Oil:
There are numerous Cannabis Dispensaries that offer their service selling edibles to various cannabis oil products. Most are not medical grade. One needs to do their homework before buying. A good reference would be their website and or Facebook pages. Be wary of the Snake Oil Salesmen, avoid spam 419 scam emails at all costs.

There are no walk-in stores. Safest to order online locally, avoid risking confiscation by customs. Seeds are illegal and do not pass as souvenirs. Many international well-known established seedbanks do courier seeds to South Africa. Packaged normally or sent stealth (inside a T-Shirt). If intercepted by customs, they will be confiscated, people have been prosecuted for the importation of seeds. There are a few select companies that have taken the risk out of it, offering overnight couriering of trusted international brands.

Grow Shop:
Few walk-in stores with basic essential gear. Nothing too fancy. Looking for top expensive brands you’d need to source them from overseas grow shops. There are a few walk-in grow shops in most major cities. With other grow shops choosing to courier only. You can buy the essential gear to get going. Unfortunately, mostly cheaper more affordable products only available. More expensive high-end Brands will need to be imported directly from their respective countries.

Coffee Shop:
Only one! 420 Café in Sandton.

Glass: One walk-in store in CPT selling mostly “Chinese” glass only, Little Amsterdam. Most tobacconists sells cheap silicone products which should be avoided at all costs. One company with a passion for quality have taken it upon themselves to bring the real deal when it comes to glass and accessories from the state and Europe (420 Store).

Vaporizers:Two walk-in stores in Cape Town, Vape Store hold a wider range and offer an excellent after-sales service. Easiest to order online. You can buy most international brands from the most basic pens to expensive desktop vaporizers from 420 Store.

Although cannabis as a whole was illegal until recently, hemp products were overlooked and widely accepted. Hemps is sold for fishing bait, available at your local tackle shop. Health shops and even select supermarkets sell Hemp seeds dietary supplements. There is only one shop in S.A. that specializes in all hemp-based products, including clothing and beauty products, Hemp Emporium. Hemp Emporium physical shop is in CPT, but all their products are available online.

Many chemist and health shops stock hemp-based CBD Oil. Hemp-derived CBD Oil including Elixinol and Coin are not to be confused with CBD FECO oil used to treat and manage various conditions and or symptoms. They are dietary supplements only.

Dagga Party: (Iqela Lentsango) The Dagga Party of South Africa (more commonly known as the Dagga Party) is a South African political party founded in February 2009 by Jeremy Acton, who remains the party's leader. The Dagga Party was established to allow voters who support the legalization of dagga to have representation in elections. The party's position is that cannabis users should have the same rights as people who use tobacco and alcohol.

Dagga Couple: Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke are known as the "Dagga Couple" in South African media. In August 2010, their property was raided, and they were arrested on charges of possessing and dealing in dagga. In February 2011, they argued before a magistrate's court that they had a "human right to ingest anything" they chose, provided that it did not harm them, and applied for leave to make their case before the Constitutional Court. Their case was struck from the court roll, pending the result of their constitutional challenge of the legality of cannabis prohibition. The case was partly heard in 2017 and the constitutional court delivered their final judgement in September 2018.

Cape Town Marches: Since 2000, as part of the Global Marijuana March initiative, Cape Town has hosted an annual pro-legalization Cannabis Walk on the first Saturday of May.

About 400 people took part in 2012, a crowd of 500 in 2013, and "a few hundred" people marched in 2015. The participants increased to 3,000 in 2016, and to 6,000 in 2017.

In 2014, a report by the Anti-Drug Alliance of South Africa argued that the criminalization of cannabis had "created victims rather than solutions", and recommended legalization.

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