Is Weed Legal in South Africa?

By |Published On: January 21st, 2021|

No, weed is NOT legal in South Africa. It is ridiculous, but trade in Cannabis is still a criminal offence in South Africa. Also the SAPS still treat possession as a crime and you will be arrested if found in possession of Cannabis, even unconstitutionally in the privacy of your own home. Currently the vast majority of cases that manages to reach court get struck of the roll. More and more cases do NOT end in court as the police just mess innocent people around for bribes and even just to kill time, knowing that there is no crime. Old habits die hard.

However during certain levels of our lockdowns the sale of more dangerous substances like tobacco and alcohol is still permitted. Fields of Green for All would not exist if Cannabis was regulated in a fair evidence based way that was to the benefit of all South Africans, and not just the so called stakeholders and privileged few. Instead in 2021 despite the pandemic and despite our strong directives and judgements, the heartless police still put South Africans unconstitutionally in cages for possessing any amount of the plant. Dagga is used as a weapon to enforce oppression and make our corrupt police force look good. It enables the police to plant unnecessary fear and anxiety into law abiding citizens.

If Dagga was legal we would not see big industrial grow houses in Lesotho depriving rural villages from water, and in some cases causing the poorest of the poor mountain folk to walk longer distances for their daily water, and even having to relocate just to survive. If there is one reason to legalise weed in South Africa, it is to help heal our beloved country by benefitting everybody, including the poor.

The only slight change we have seen in the legality of Dagga in South Africa, is the insufficient but nonetheless profound Privacy Judgment of 2018  and the subsequent police directive which is as a rule ignored by the SAPS. We are very grateful for the Privacy Judgment, but sadly it has not freed the South African Cannabis user, grower and enthusiast from the ongoing pointless abuse by the police. In fact on the ground not much has changed at all. There has been no change of heart or an acknowledgement by our government to put an end to the human rights travesty that is Dagga arrests. The Judgment is clearly not enough. We need full spectrum legalisation.

It is also important to remember that legalisation is not a moment, but a series of small changes and steps in the elimination of the ugly stigma around the plant and all it’s users. Only after many small victories to come, when you cannot get arrested for dagga, will it be truly legal in South Africa.

Thank you to our FGA Affiliates who help to make our ongoing content creation possible!

Thank you to our FGA Affiliates who help to make our ongoing content creation possible!


About the Author: Charl Henning

I have worked at Fields of Green For All and Stop The Cops since 2014. Apart from day to day admin I also man our helpline and support victims of arrest.

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  1. Shannon Mitchell October 6, 2022 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    Hi… I live in Capetown….a policemen came to my house to get a statement related to another case and saw a bag of weed and told me it’s legal….but if I had a lot of weed it would have been a problem….I smoke in my yard almost everyday and no policeman bothers me.

  2. meredith April 20, 2021 at 7:27 am - Reply

    if it is illigal to grow,harvest and process cannibis why has MRC and SAHPRA dished out hundreds of licences.there are a lot of pharmaceutical companies including clicks and dischem stocking and selling said products?

    • Charl Henning April 21, 2021 at 10:53 am - Reply

      It is legal in South Africa to grow harvest and process Cannabis, but there is a disconnect in the tiny bit of government regulations we have and you will still be arrested by the SAPS for ANY amount of Cannabis. Meanwhile approved imported CBD is for sale commercially. This is a symptom of the injustice that we are fighting to end. Please join our Network.

  3. Shirley March 24, 2021 at 11:34 am - Reply

    What % of THC is able to be present in CBD in S A

    • Charl Henning March 25, 2021 at 10:51 am - Reply

      As far as I am aware, it is almost none at all (0.001%). Hence the ‘No THC’ labels on the CBD in the shops. Sadly this is really badly regulated. All forms of Cannabis should be made equally available to all South Africans everywhere.

  4. Mr. Seedat February 14, 2021 at 1:26 am - Reply

    Can I ask. What is the maximum amount of plants a person, or couple can cultivate on their own premises?!

  5. Thys Sloan February 4, 2021 at 8:16 am - Reply

    Where can we see the actual official current Gazetted law in place re Marijuana?

    • Charl Henning February 11, 2021 at 12:04 pm - Reply

      There is no law. That’s what we are fighting for. We have the drugs and drug trafficking act which is hopelessly behind the times and of which parts have been declared unconstitutional. We have the privacy judgement, Police directive and circular and the precedent case about warrants: those docs are here.

  6. anthony wyngaard January 21, 2021 at 12:48 pm - Reply

    Good Day

    thank you for all the information on this web site. you are doing great work.

    i have started to plant and looking forward to my first harvest.


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