Police warn dealing in dagga is still unlawful

The state warns those buying or selling the herb will be arrested despite a court ruling giving some form of rights to dagga users.


The South African police are warning the public that dealing in dagga is still unlawful, saying they will arrest anybody selling or buying it.

The cops together with the South African health products regulatory authority (SAHPRA) issues the joint warning to dagga users Monday this week 4 November 2019 whilst the public believes the herb was made legal by Justice Raymond Zondo of the Constitutional Court last year September 2019.

Officials say the law doesn’t permit the sale of marijuana as well as its use in medicine as this law doesn’t permit “cannibas-related products that are not exempted in terms of the Medicines Act”.

“In terms of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act, the definition of ‘traditional medicine’ means an object or substance used in traditional health practice for the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of a physical or mental illness or any curative or therapeutic purpose, including the maintenance or restoration of physical or mental health or well-being in human beings, but does not include a dependence-producing or dangerous substance or drug,” police boss General Khehla Sitole’s office said in the joint statement released with SAHPRA.

They said the launch of stores online selling dagga or products prepared with it remains unlawful “except where specifically allowed in terms of the Medicines and Related Substances Act”.

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“As a result, the Traditional Health Practitioners Act does not create a mechanism to sell cannabis and cannabis-related products that are not exempted in terms of the Medicines Act,” the statement said. 

On 18 September 2018, Zondo ruled that the arrest of people using dagga in their private space was “inconsistent with the right to privacy entrenched in the Constitution and is constitutionally invalid”.

Zondo said this means that “no adult will be arrested for being in possession of dagga for personal use in South Africa”.

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But the cops and SAHPRA said Zondo’s judgement only allowed people older than 18 years to use, possess or cultivate “in private for his or her personal consumption in private”. 

“The use, including smoking of cannabis in public or in the presence of children or in the presence of non-consenting adult persons is not allowed. The use or possession of cannabis in private other than by an adult for his or her personal consumption is also not permitted,”  the statement said.  

But dealing in dagga is not permitted in terms of the Drugs Act and Drug Trafficking Act.

The definition of dealing is clear in the Drugs Act and Drug Trafficking Act and doesn’t allow the performing of “any act in connection with the transhipment, importation, cultivation other than the cultivation of cannabis by an adult in a private place for his or her personal consumption in private, collection, manufacture, supply, prescription, administration, sale, transmission or exportation of the drug'”.

(edited by MLM)

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