South Africa’s Constitutional Court unanimously ruled that private use of marijuana is no longer a crime. Adults can now use marijuana in private spaces, such as their residence.
Legalization has been opposed by the South African government in the past, saying it’s harmful to health, BBC News reports. The ruling is a binding ruling that was brought about by a case involving three marijuana users who were facing prosecution.
In the filing, the complaint says the ban on marijuana use “intrudes unjustifiably into their private spheres.”
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, “It will not be a criminal offence for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in private for his or her private consumption.”
Public use, sales and providing marijuana to others will remain illegal – for now.
The Cannabis Development Council of South Africa is happy with the ruling. It’s calling on the government to drop the charges against those possessing marijuana.
With this new ruling the court has also issued a notice to parliament that they have 24-months to change the law to include the new ruling. Those that use marijuana in private are protected under the ruling even before the new law is amended. Possession of a specific quantity was not listed, that will be the responsibility of parliament.