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State: High Court's dagga ruling not in line with Constitution

The State’s appeal is against the High Court’s decision, which legalised the private use of the drug.

FILE: Cannabis indica. Picture: Freeimages.com

JOHANNESBURG - The State’s legal team is arguing in the Constitutional Court that the Western Cape’s High Court decision to allow private cannabis usage is not in line with ubuntu.

The State’s appeal is against the High Court’s decision, which legalised the private use of the drug.

The court found that the current law unjustifiably limited people’s rights to privacy, saying that private use was justified as long as it didn’t hurt others.

But the State’s counsel Thomas Bokaba says that this ruling was not in line with the values in the Constitution.

“We do not live in an individualistic society in South Africa. That expression, which the High Court relied on, is not in line with the values of the Constitution or the values of society.”

The State has also told the court that cannabis is more harmful to users than tobacco and alcohol.

The Western Cape High Court ruled earlier this year that the current laws unjustifiably limit a user’s rights to privacy.

Bokaba has told the court that various global health reports on cannabis and the health risks justify the state’s decision to criminalise the drug and not tobacco and alcohol.

“Cannabis is different from other substances in the sense that it affects the brain, it is a hallucinogen, unlike alcohol.”

He says the Western Cape High Court’s decision to legalise the private use is short-sighted.

The chief justices have questioned the necessity of Tuesday’s hearing before the High Court’s case on the general legalisation of the substance.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)