South African court frees cannabis from colonial and apartheid past

The Constitutional Court’s ruling offers possibilities for reducing harms that have accompanied decades of punitive law enforcement
The Conversation (UK)
Sunday, September 23, 2018

A ruling by the South African Constitutional Court opens the way for decriminalising private use of cannabis, locally known as “dagga”. It marks a definitive shift in a century of notoriously punitive drug policy, recognised in the recent judgement to be “replete with racism”. In 1922, cannabis was officially classified and designated for control as a “habit-forming drug” through a national Customs and Excise Act. Consequences of this legal development were not only local: they were global. A year after the national law was passed, the government under Prime Minister Jan Smuts, approached the League of Nations’ “Dangerous Drugs” committees requesting that cannabis be included within the same registers as opium, morphine and cocaine.