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South Africa High Court: Laws Barring Private Cannabis Use by Adults Unconstitutional

South Africa’s Western Cape Town High Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional to prohibit cannabis use by adults in private homes, paving the way for reforms that will allow adults to privately cultivate, possess, and use cannabis, according to a News24  report.

In the decision, Judge Dennis Davis also directed Parliament to change sections of the Drug Trafficking and Medicines Control acts within 24 months.

The suit was filed by Dagga Party leader Jeremy Acton and Rastafarian Garreth Prince, who argued that some of the sections of the Drug Trafficking and Medicines Control acts are discriminatory, outdated, or unfair, and applied disproportionately to black individuals. The duo has been obtaining stays of prosecution for people arrested for possession pending the outcome of their case.

Prince previously petitioned the Constitutional Court to decriminalize cannabis for religious purposes, however his plea was denied in that case.  He was first arrested for possession in 1989 while studying law at the University of the Western Cape. After graduating he applied to the Cape Bar to be admitted to practice law and was denied due to the previous cannabis conviction. He was arrested again in 2012 for growing cannabis in his garden.

According to News24, the judgment does legalize sales.

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