Private Use of Cannabis Goes Legal in South Africa

Stephen Andrews
14 Jun 2024

South Africa became the first African country to legalize marijuana for personal use after President Cyril Ramaphosa signed a cannabis reform bill into law on May 28. Known as the Cannabis for Private Purposes Act, the bill effectively makes home cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal use legal in South Africa. In addition, it will open the pathway toward industrialization of cannabis.

The country that gave to the world the famous cannabis strain Durban Poison has now moved to adopt marijuana legalization, albeit non-commercial in its nature. 

With a new legislation on the table, South Africa now permits cannabis for growing, possession and private use at home. The legislation further regulates the medical application of cannabis for children and protects them from negligent exposure or possession, according to a press release from the President’s office. 

What the Legalization of Cannabis Means for South Africa? 

South African lawmakers took years to bring cannabis reform. They were supposed to do that within two years following a Constitutional Court ruling in 2018 that weighed unlawful the prohibition on simple possession and cultivation of marijuana. The delay happened despite the government indicating cannabis to be a priority sector with huge economic potential. 

A legislation bill was finally proposed in 2020. What will not be allowed with it is the creation of a commercial cannabis market. The legislation is largely focused on personal and private possession, cultivation and use, and it aims to protect public health, in particular adolescents and children. 

However, the gains are pretty much generous. Anyone aged 18 or above may possess an unlimited number of cannabis seeds or seedlings. A person can have up to four flowering plants at a single time. A household with more than one person can have as many as eight flowering plants at a given time. Also permitted is carrying up to 100 grams of dried flower on the person, and keeping up to 600 grams of dried flower at home per person, or keeping 1,200 grams per household in a private residence. 

Those of legal age can use cannabis in private places, and they are also allowed to gift others up to 30 seeds or seedlings, or one flowering plant, or 100 grams of dried cannabis, without seeking any compensation. 

Normally, there are fines for those that breach the limits for cultivation and possession, for those failing to ensure that cannabis plants are out of reach for children, and also for those who fail to comply with cultivation standards. 

Sounds like a good start of the legal cannabis age in South Africa!

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Stephen Andrews