Cannabis Related Matters

One needs to understand the difference between decriminalized and legalized.

Cannabis Decriminalized

In South Africa, cannabis was decriminalized by the Western Cape High Court ruling for a host of reasons including that its criminalization, for personal use by consenting adults, was in fact unconstitutional.

But one needs to understand the difference between decriminalized and legalized.

LEGAL: The use of cannabis is highly regulated, and only allowed to be consumed in private, by adults over the age of 18 years.

ILLEGAL: The recreational use of cannabis in private is legal, many aspects of producing, processing, storing, possessing, transporting and selling it are still against the law.

LEGAL: One can only have a limited quantity in your possession, equivalent to what can be personally consumed which is quantified by the law as a maximum of 600g per individual in their private space or 100g in a public place but kept out of public view.

ILLEGAL: Consuming cannabis in public spaces remains a criminal offence. Supplying a minor, i.e. a child under the age of 18 years, with any form of recreational cannabis is a serious offence. In summary any deviation from the legally defined recreational use, possession or cultivation of cannabis by an adult in private is a criminal offence.

It is very important to be informed about the legal limits that apply to the acquisition and consumption of recreational cannabis products so that you do not find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

READ MORE: The Law on Cannabis in South Africa

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Dagga and the Law

The history of Cannabis in South Africa

Before prohibition against the plant was lifted in 2018 advocates pressured the government to modify its laws, which first restricted cannabis in 1922, to allow exemptions for medical use, religious practices, and other purposes.

Dagga (Afrikaans pronunciation:
 [/ˈdaχa/]), is the Afrikaans term commonly referred to as cannabis; it derives from the Khoikhoi word dacha, which was used by the early European colonial settlers in the Western Cape.

READ MORE: Cannabis in South Africa

FAQs about Cannabis in South Africa

We have taken a few of the Q&As from a popular website below

  1. What does the South African law say about cannabis?
    It is legal to possess cannabis, including seeds, for personal adult use. It is also legal to grow your own cannabis. Although the amounts that constitute personal use are yet to be defined. And all trade of any part of the plant remains strictly prohibited.
  2. Can you lose your job if you tested positive for Cannabis at work?
    9 times out of 10, company policies are outdated or simply discriminatory. If your work contract contains no Drug / Dagga clause you can take them to the CCMA.
  3. Can I give or receive Dagga as a gift?
    Gifting is another grey area left by the September 2018 privacy judgment. The judgment seems to imply sharing/gifting (or how else would one get, for example, seeds if one didn’t have prior to Judgment?), but some cops and prosecutors may still be of the opinion that it’s dealing. Is a gift not for personal use though? It’s not like you need a liquor license to gift or receive a bottle of wine, or be accused of illicit dealing.
  4. Is CBD legal to sell?
    Cannabidiol (CBD) is listed as a Schedule 4 substance. Exemption that existed for certain products expired in May 2020.

READ MORE: FAQs about Cannabis in South Africa

5) Are Cannabis Seeds Legal in South Africa?
Following decrimilization of the plant in 2018, this question immediately arose.

The unanimous ruling by the judges of the Constitutional Court made it very clear that the personal growing and use of cannabis by consenting adults would be legal with immediate effect. The supply, sale or exchange of the plant however remained illegal. This ruling created an uncertainty for locals wanting to grow their own weed. You can grow it, but you can’t buy seeds?

READ MORE: Are Cannabis Seeds Legal in South Africa?