Marijuana in South Africa: 
It's Not Just A Phase

We are sorry to tell you, it’s not just a phase.

Marijuana in South Africa is now legal, well, for personal use at least. While this may seem like a small step to some, and a rebellious teenage phase to others, to anyone considering themselves an enthusiast this is breathtaking news. With stigma attached to anyone who voices their love for this natural resource, this is a moment of triumph for the hemp, medical cannabis and recreational cannabis industries. The time has come for this plant to get its time in the sun.

As of September 2018 marijuana using marijuana in a personal, private capacity is considered a constitutional right. What this basically means is that, if you so wish, you may grow, cultivate and consume the ol’ Mary Jane in the comfort of your own home. 100% legal, 100% your constitutional right. Now, according to the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act 140 of 1992, anything under 115 grams can be seen as an appropriate amount for ‘personal use’. However, in the wake of the legislation changes, and the general confusion surrounding the bulk of incoming information, the amount has been increased until further notice. It is still possible to get arrested for marijuana possession though, if it is deemed that you are growing with the intent to deal you may still have run-ins with the law.

While to many this seems like a great time to have a party or try something new, to thousands of others this means a chance at natural, clean and sustainable medicines. With over 50 000 real world applications, including clothing, medicine and building materials, this age-old plant may be the future we have all been hoping for. A trusted route to healing by ancients and hippies alike, it seems one of our greatest resources has been right here this whole time.

As a land known as one of the best places to grow the “Whacky Tobacky”, South Africa is not just any old legalisation story. In many parts of the world, where legislation has taken place, the culture and industry surrounding marijuana was cultivated more out of passion and elusiveness than anything else. It was not something that grew naturally, or particularly well in the foreign climates. In Southern Africa, much like parts of India, as well as Central and South America, marijuana grows abundantly in its natural state. With vast areas of land and almost perfect conditions for many strains, including some of the most famous landrace strains, this is potential industry and economic rise just waiting to happen. With a country in need for more jobs, more investment and more opportunity for those breaking their back in the sun, having our future set on cannabis could lead to a prosperous country for all.

While it is not yet written into law, the court ordered that in the interim, adults who use, possess, or cultivate cannabis in private for their own personal consumption are not considered to be breaking the law. The personal consumption exception has been one of the more celebrated elements of this new era, but it does raise various practical difficulties.

With the law being in a technical grey space, many are not quite sure just how to enforce this new set of ideas, and putting them into practice is problematic. It may even mean that the exception violates the so-called ‘principle of fair warning’ which requires criminal law provisions to be clearly communicated at all time. This ensures that as a law abiding citizen you may know ahead of time what you may and may not do.

With this new year in full swing and a new light on legal marijuana in South Africa, now is the time for personal use growers to indulge their long-hidden passions and dreams.

As a collective that hopes to help South Africa grow, contact JCC for any marijuana related, indoor, outdoor or consulting needs.

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