Dagga Judgment: There are less drastic ways to deal with its harmful effects

The state was unable to provide credible evidence about the uniquely harmful effects of cannabis
The Daily Maverick (South Africa)
Thursday, May 4, 2017

south africa law crimeUntil 1921 dagga was sold openly by mine storekeepers in the towns and grew wild in much of South Africa. It was banned partly because it was feared that its use would make it more difficult to uphold racial segregation. Its possession and use was criminalised by the colonial regime in 1928 and this was done for political and so called “moral” reasons. The Western Cape High Court held that the relevant provisions in the Drugs Act and the Medicine and Related Substances Act which prohibit the possession and use of cannabis infringed on the right to privacy protected in section 14 of the Bill of Rights. In evaluating the evidence Judge Dennis Davis concluded that the evidence provided by the state to justify the criminalisation of dagga “was singularly unimpressive”.