As a result of a decision made by the Constitutional Court of South Africa in 2018, the country decriminalized cannabis for personal use.
While South Africa’s Parliament has developed a legislative framework to legalize cannabis usage for adults and medical purposes, the court decision is still in place.
However, as of 2023, the government is still working on the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill, and interim orders are being used to fill in the gaps.
South Africa Medical Marijuana Law
Cannabis was first introduced to South Africa thousands of years ago via trade with India.
Cannabis, commonly known as “dagga,” was a staple of daily life for people in South Africa, who relied on it for therapeutic, utilitarian, and even religious reasons.
For moral and political reasons, apartheid authorities in South Africa wanted to outlaw cannabis and make it a criminal offense in the middle of the 20th century, concurrent with efforts to impose a worldwide ban on the drug.
The government first outlawed cannabis in 1928, and in 1971 it enacted the Abuse of Dependence-Producing Substances and Rehabilitation Centres Act, which was hailed as the “toughest anti-drug law in the Western World.”
Together with the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act of 1992, these laws criminalized cannabis and unfairly penalized regional growers who depended on the crop for a living.
These regulations were in place for many years before the Constitutional Court of South Africa found that parts of the 1992 Drugs Act were unconstitutional and violated people’s civil rights to privacy.
“The right to privacy entitles an adult person to use, cultivate, or possess cannabis in private for his or her own consumption,” said Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in his remarks.
After Zondo made his remarks, South Africa decriminalized cannabis use and private cultivation for people 18 years of age and older.
The decision also created the possibility of legalizing the commercial cultivation and export of cannabis for medical purposes.
The Cannabis for Private Purposes Act, which attempted to establish rules for the production, possession, and use of cannabis by adults, was created by the South African government in 2020.
The criminal records of anyone accused of marijuana possession or usage would likewise be cleared.
The bill’s absence of restrictions regarding the sale of cannabis products has drawn criticism, particularly for putting too-high licensing hurdles in the way of many South Africans who depend on farm revenue for their family.
Medical and recreational cannabis users in South Africa are unsure of the future of the country’s cannabis regulations as the measure waits for a final revision.
A provisional judgment now governing access to legal cannabis in medical marijuana.
The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) is in charge of enforcing the 2019 amendment to the Medicines and Related Substances Act of 1965, which regulates the usage of the plant. This amendment was intended to serve as a temporary hold until Parliament completes the new bill.
This amendment separates non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) from the intoxicating THC and places medications in specific schedules.
Cannabis containing THC is classified as a Schedule 6 substance, thus if users have a Department of Health permit and a doctor’s prescription, they must register their goods with the SAHPRA and buy them from a licensed dispensary.
If products contain less than 20 milligrams of CBD, they can be purchased with a standard prescription and are classified as Schedule 4 drugs. Without a prescription, people can purchase CBD products that have less than 0.001% THC.
Recreational Possession and Use Are Decriminalized
As long as personal production and consumption of cannabis take place in private, it is legal for consenting people to consume it privately.
The legal limit for personal possession of cannabis is 600 grams in a private area while the transportation and production of cannabis for sale remains prohibited.
Can cannabis seeds be sent to South Africa?
As mentioned above, cannabis growing for personal use in a private place is now permitted. Consequently, it is acceptable to buy and own seeds, even if they are used to cultivate cannabis plants. Additionally, it is permitted to receive seeds through posts from other nations.
The use of medical marijuana in South Africa is permitted. Although, you will need a private place to use marijuana for recreational purposes.