Legal dagga: How South African police define ‘personal use’

South Africa’s Constitutional Court has ruled that personal use of marijuana is not a criminal offence

The ruling hasn't however, said how much a person can legally have, and that will be up to parliament.

"The judgment does not specify how many grams of cannabis can a person use or have in private".

Obviously, there are clear-cut situations which denote the differences between private use and possession with the intention to sell.

The High Court also ruled that Parliament should change sections of the Drug Trafficking Act, as well as the Medicines Control Act.

South Africa's highest court decriminalised cannabis (dagga) use and private cultivation on Tuesday morning. "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 in the ruling.

According to Zondo, the "court would infringe on the separation of powers" if it determines the amount itself.

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Tuesday's ruling follows a judgment that the possession, cultivation and use of dagga for private use was allowed. It says the right to privacy "extends beyond the boundaries of a home".

Therefore, if this Court were to confirm the order declaring invalid provisions that prohibit the purchase of cannabis, it would, in effect, be sanctioning dealing in cannabis.

If, having heard what the person has to say, the police officer thinks that the explanation is not satisfactory, he or she may arrest the person.

Basically, the courts will still process members of the public flagged and arrested by the police on suspicion of possessing cannabis with the intention to sell.

"This must be determined by parliament", he said.

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