June 10, 2024

Cannabis Use Legalised in South Africa

On 26 May, 2024, on the eve of South Africa’s General Elections, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the Cannabis for Private Purposes Act.

This effectively makes South Africa the first African nation to legalise the use of marijuana.

The bill has removed dagga from the list of prohibited narcotics in the country, meaning that adults are now free to grow and consume it, however, not in the presence of children.

According to the bill, those who have been found guilty of marijuana usage-related offenses should have their records wiped clean.

However it is unclear how this will take place, and it also remains unknown what will happen to those currently incarcerated for these related crimes.

It is also unclear how users are meant to acquire the drug. Unlike other countries where cannabis has been legalised there is still no way to lawfully acquire it in South Africa unless you grow it yourself, or if it is for medicinal purposes and has been prescribed by a doctor.

Myrtle Clarke, co-founder of Fields of Green for ALL, an NGO which campaigns for cannabis reform, says: “Now we can move on to what to do about trade, which remains illegal.”