Personal Cannabis Use Legalised in South Africa?

By |Published On: March 31st, 2017|

The Western Cape High Court case for the legalisation of Cannabis in South Africa has taken years and multiple postponements to reach today’s verdict that Cannabis prohibition in South Africa is “unconstitutional”. 

Ras Gareth Prince, who has previously lost a Constitutional Court case based on legalising for religious purposes only, and Jeremy Acton, leader of The Dagga Party, have personally plead their case before Judge Dennis Davis in the hope that this time we will see the court rule in favour of more proactive and realistic approach to Cannabis use in the country. This ruling comes on the last day of the promised 1st quarter finale of this long ongoing trial and has kept many of the nation’s citizens on tenterhooks for what would be a game changer for local Cannabis users.

Despite the trial having experienced a number of ups and downs, public support has consistently been strong and Judge Davis has allowed both sides to plea their case. All three judges of the Cape Town High Court unanimously declared the laws regarding Cannabis to be unconstitutional and declared that the South African government had 24 months to amend these laws in favour of legalisation. The court ordered that all cultivation, possession and personal use on private property be immediately permitted. The details regarding distribution and retail were however not ruled on in the judgement. As it stands, this means that the laws regarding Cannabis fall somewhere between decriminalisation and legalisation. While the State may still choose to appeal this ruling.

Parliament will now need to within the next 2 years formulate a policy to deal with formalising legalisation, while all personal Cannabis related arrests and prosecutions are suspended for this period. This is a huge victory for personal and human rights in South Africa.

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


About the Author: William

Operations manager at Fields of Green for ALL, cannabis culture blogger and general do it all at The High Co.

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  1. EXCELLENT MADUNA September 20, 2018 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    Hi Myrtle Clarke…i would start by thanking ur’ll guys that you fought for the freedom of using cannibis YOU GUYS ROCK…..

    and i kinder have a question here…so i am an artist i make art (using ganja seeds in most of my designs ) so i am a recycler because i collect seeds and create something that is artistic out those seeds. so my question is em i gonna have a problem with the police if i sell these designs made out of weed seeds all over jorburg?

    • Myrtle Clarke September 27, 2018 at 10:59 am - Reply

      What a lovely thing to do and proof that Cannabis makes you creative! If you have any problems with the police you can tell them that they are hemp seeds that you bought from the health shop and they are glued to your artwork so cannot be germinated!
      We would love to see what your art looks like, please send us a pic!

  2. […] made earlier this year in favor of cannabis legalisation in South Africa. In the groundbreaking High Court ruling, Judge Dennis Davis found that the prohibition of the plant and its use was at the very least an […]

  3. Ruwart de Jong July 18, 2017 at 6:28 am - Reply

    Hi Guys,
    I have Cancer and serious back problems, at this stage the Government medical services cannot supply me with morphine as usual, the only close alternative is cannabis, however not as effective! Why had one MP had to commit suicide? He was in total agony most of the day and night. He may have been living today if it was legal at that stage. effectively the South African Government killed him!!!!!

  4. marlon May 10, 2017 at 9:27 am - Reply

    plz someone tell me can I smoke at home

  5. Dietz April 4, 2017 at 7:54 pm - Reply
    This article kinda Dampened my Vibe…
    Ive been fine combing the net to see if its really safe or not and there is alot of contradicting articles spread everywhere, the article below so far hits it on the head and cleared things up, but not in the way I hoped for.

    Its definitely a GREAT step in the right direction, but for now is still doesn’t stop them from busting your house up and arresting you.
    and the way I expect it is they will do the best to piss as many of us off as they can, they wont get a prosecution, but this doesn’t mean they wont try and spite you.. As previous comments said, poking the hornets nest with a stick”

    So its Kinda safer now to cultivate and use MJ, mainly because you will now have A BETTER DEFENSE if you are arrested and also because its not likely that they will pop in for a raid.

    “the Court also declared that, in the meantime, “personal consumption” in a “private dwelling” is a VALID DEFENSE to a dagga charge.”

    This only serves as a better defense, My question is this, If you DO get raided with lets 1 or two plants that have a good yield, How do you prove that its for personal consumption if there is no regulations in place i.e more than 4 plants is NOT for personal use or that the amount that you have in your private home is for personal use, surely 1 person with 50KGs cant be proved as personal consumption

    Also doesn’t stop a neighbor from calling the cops if they smell weed coming from you side? which might still lead to an arrest, or am I wrong?

    How do I go about doing this and not still feel the paranoia of “Does anyone smell my Joint?…”

    Sorry for all the Questions, just want to smoke Freely

    • Myrtle Clarke April 10, 2017 at 9:01 am - Reply

      Hi Dietz, We know it is frustrating but this grey area is common across the world in situations where the law is in the process of being changed. We have a very efficient system in place to help you should you get into trouble with the law. Please go to and make sure that you have read the info there. We will not stop fighting until we are all free to use this amazing plant however we wish!

  6. Chris April 4, 2017 at 8:40 am - Reply

    Where can i get a copy of the full legislation handed down in court, you know, should the police be very envious about my beautiful medical grade MJ HAHA have about 13 plants…. At least ;)) i help a couple folks out here and there who medically use and want clean good MJ without dealing with crooky looking gang bangers. Keep em safe abd keep em smiling

  7. Saint Friedman April 4, 2017 at 6:18 am - Reply

    Good start but it is still not enough. It should be legal and commercialised with age restrictions like alcohol, like they did in Colorado and Washington.

    • Myrtle Clarke April 4, 2017 at 8:38 am - Reply

      Yes of course. That is why we have The Trial of the Plant in August. We will be arguing the right to use this plant across all FOUR PLATFORMS. Don’t know what this means? Read this website!

  8. jaco April 4, 2017 at 4:18 am - Reply

    How can it be leagel if u can still be aressted if using on own private property when i heard this it sounded to good to be true and i guess it is

    • Myrtle Clarke April 4, 2017 at 8:41 am - Reply

      Yes but it is a start. We doubt that the police will be raiding private homes from now on as they will know that they won’t get a conviction. We are VERY aware that it doesn’t really make sense at the moment but things don’t end there. We still have the DC court case in Pretoria later this year. There was not enough evidence presented in Cape Town for complete legalisation but we have to salute Jeremy Acton and Ras Garreth Prince for taking a HUGE leap in the right direction.

  9. Nicky April 3, 2017 at 8:08 am - Reply

    I just hope now that the Government will come forward with funding for research of the cannabis plant for medicinal purposes. The Arthritis Foundation in the States donated millions of dollars for research on the plant for treatment of so many Arthritis conditions.

  10. Allison April 2, 2017 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    Awesome! We serve a mighty God! Now my pain is being managed thru His Herb! I’ve been diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis in 2013. Cannabis has been my only pain killer for a year now! Thanku Jesus!

  11. John April 2, 2017 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Very Good….Never did it ! Will try ! Helps with my aches & Pains ?

  12. John Lang April 2, 2017 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    The bible says for your use no for smoking stop using religious beliefs to prove your point stand up and and don’t hide God

  13. Graham April 2, 2017 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    Momentous News! Thanks to all who shared in bringing about this judgement. You guys are the best and I’m sure God will reward you. I have been growing cannabis for about three years for medicinal purposes and have helped many others. Now I do’nt have to be so worried about getting arrested for growing the herb in my garden. Yippee!

  14. Adrian April 2, 2017 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    Highry thank u 2 those souls who fought dis battle God has answered the prayers. Smoke weed everyday

  15. Johan Swart April 2, 2017 at 5:12 am - Reply

    Fantastic,, somebody is getting into the heads of the legal system that nature cannot produce anything but good. However the worshippers of the moneygods will still resist to assure themselves the right to lawfully poison us with drugs(what they call medicine) that is full of chemicals. Great achievement for mankind!

  16. Jaco April 2, 2017 at 3:47 am - Reply

    ThAnks quys u tha bom

  17. Tebogo April 1, 2017 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    It’s about time

  18. Aubrey Debliquy April 1, 2017 at 11:42 am - Reply

    Cape “High” Court strikes a “blow” for privacy and personal sovereignty over our bodies in our homes.

  19. Marcel April 1, 2017 at 11:00 am - Reply

    I cannot begin to thank everyone involved for their perseverance in fighting for Herbal Reform in South Africa! I am speechless and proud to be part of such a united community, thank you.

  20. Blayne April 1, 2017 at 7:16 am - Reply

    Would like to know if it has just been legalised in the western Cape or through the whole of south Africa including kzn guateng north west and all other surrounding areas?

  21. Shed April 1, 2017 at 7:01 am - Reply

    Well done

  22. Coleen Myburgh April 1, 2017 at 6:24 am - Reply

    A huge thank you for what you have accomplished and will continue to support you all the way! Now I can smoke in peace IRIE JAH BLESS! <3 ONE LOVE

  23. fishpa April 1, 2017 at 4:52 am - Reply

    So this judgement renders the MCC
    draconian permit application to grow as a laim duck….just grow your own… use babilons regulations as toilet paper

  24. Swave April 1, 2017 at 4:22 am - Reply

    What happens now if you have been arrested for the possession on marijuana at the privacy of your own home and was charged with it. Do the charges now the null and void or the process continues because it was before legalisation??

    • Myrtle Clarke April 2, 2017 at 8:21 am - Reply

      You can still be arrested but now you can use this judgement in your defense. It will be the same as the current ‘Stay in Prosecution’. Don’t for one minute think that the police are going to stop arresting people. They might not do as many house raids, though. We will have to wait and see. Remember that we are always there to help at It’s not over till its over…

  25. Martin April 1, 2017 at 4:15 am - Reply

    Well done! ?

  26. king Blaauw April 1, 2017 at 4:12 am - Reply

    Let the strong fynbos be legalize its n cure for many sickness unknown we use it clean its n good herb for many

  27. Billy milliken April 1, 2017 at 4:03 am - Reply

    I got bust on the 23rd March with 3 plants. How does this ruling affect me?

    • Myrtle Clarke April 2, 2017 at 8:23 am - Reply

      You MUST use this ruling in your defense Billy, oh dear, here we go again! Would be great to see you if you still come joburg side. I’ll message you and we’ll take it from there. Download a copy of the judgement from the DC website so long.
      Chat soon.

  28. Charles April 1, 2017 at 3:15 am - Reply

    I am happy because finaly cannibis will be legalized therefore I foresee the country on its on heading somewhere and going foward since cannibis will be legalized mediocrity won’t be the manners of the nation

  29. Lee April 1, 2017 at 2:47 am - Reply

    Wow. For some a great relief and for others goid reason to be hoofed all the time. On the whole? Well done SA

  30. Mike April 1, 2017 at 1:17 am - Reply

    Please email me the judgement – [email protected].

  31. David Brink March 31, 2017 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    Thank you!!!!!!!!!!! You are true activists and have finally realised a revolutionary vision! I am truly in awe and greatful for all your efforts! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  32. Court March 31, 2017 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    Thank you and well done! May all involved be blessed

  33. Craig March 31, 2017 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    Never thought I’d see this in my lifetime. Knew it was coming though. Looking to grow my personal use plant asap.

  34. Leoni van Loggerenberg March 31, 2017 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    About time!! Baby steps, but it is a positive start.

  35. Christel Scheepers March 31, 2017 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    May God forgive them for what they are doing to our youth!

  36. Evaldi March 31, 2017 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    Fantastic news!!

  37. Vaughan Richards March 31, 2017 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    Cannabis is a herb that was put on earth by our creator. Who are we to decide whether it should be legalised or not. The pharmaceutical companies & governments are anti cannabis for greed reasons. A great outcome from the High Court that see the bigger picture.

  38. Marthie March 31, 2017 at 10:38 am - Reply

    Hallelujah, miricals do happen….I have spend 2months in jail, because of a +urine test for THC….so fuck the people that is against cannabis! Hope, luv, peace & happiness long times & 1 extra day for just in case… never know….big smiles, mwah

  39. Mauro Fly March 31, 2017 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Let’s celebrate! Big hugs to all activists around the world that make this possible!
    Maurofly from Uruguay

  40. Marthie van der Merwe March 31, 2017 at 10:10 am - Reply

    Hallelujah! Miricals do happen I’ve spend 2months in jail, because of a + urine test for THC…..soooo now Fuck the people that is against Cannabis use! Love you guys, hope, luv, peace & happiness long times, mwah

  41. Derek Kesek March 31, 2017 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Nice work.

  42. Neels Smit March 31, 2017 at 6:59 am - Reply

    You guys rock!!

  43. Brandon March 31, 2017 at 6:57 am - Reply

    Good day,

    Just to clarify, does this mean i can now smoke marijuana for recreational and medicinal use as long as it is on my private property?
    Without any stress or paranoia of legal action? We can now grow our own medication instead of having to deal with dealers?

    Having taken place in the Cape Town High Court, does this apply to the whole of South Africa or only the Western Cape Area?

    Sorry for all the questions, just seems way to good to be true :)


    • Myrtle Clarke April 2, 2017 at 9:18 am - Reply

      Hi Brandon,
      We are busy formulating our response and will publish a blog in a day or two. Please make sure you have signed up for our newsletter. No worries about all the questions, they are on everyone’s lips! Thanks for the support!

  44. Sandra March 31, 2017 at 6:55 am - Reply

    Woohoo! Thank you to everyone that has fought this battle!

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