Dagga judgment is quite ‘rad’

2017-04-02 07:26


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

In a rare reversal of roles, the Western Cape High Court delivered a judgment on dagga use this week that saw pot smokers doing all their homework, while law enforcement allowed the grass to grow under its feet.

In a 66-page joint judgment of a full Bench of the court, penned by Judge Dennis Davis, it was found that not only was the medical evidence presented on behalf of the ministers of justice, police, health and the National Prosecuting Authority contested, but they also “offered very little further evidence of persuasion and weight to counter the report by Professor [Mark] Shaw”.

The report was an expert opinion by Shaw of the Centre of Criminology at the University of Cape Town.

Shaw was asked to provide the report because the applicants, Gareth Prince and Jonathan Rubin, had filed a “considerable amount” of documentation that was of “little assistance”.

“The evidence provided by the respondents, in my view, was singularly unimpressive, particularly in that a considerable period of time was offered to the respondents in order to respond comprehensively,” Davis ruled.

The court basically took into account a great amount of research done on the decriminalisation of dagga, as well as developments in other democratic countries, before concluding that the use of criminal law to punish those who use a small quantity of dagga at home was a violation of a person’s right to privacy.

Quoting the Shaw report, the court held that the “effects of cannabis are no longer popularly understood to result in dangerousness and uncontrollable ‘reefer madness’ and, in fact, many users are of the opinion that cannabis is more likely to induce passivity than encourage any possible criminal behaviour”.

But dagga users would be advised to use some caution before blazing up just yet.

The order was suspended for a period of two years so that Parliament can pass the legislation that will decriminalise growing small amounts of dagga for consumption in people’s homes.

Two regular pot smokers City Press spoke to said they would continue using it regardless.

One 31-year-old, who smokes pot daily, said: “It’s progress, it’s rad, but, I mean, it makes little difference to people who are already smoking it.

“It’s weird, though, you can grow it, but you can’t buy it or transport it ... so the seeds just have to miraculously appear?”

A 28-year-old user agreed: “Well, honestly, it doesn’t make a difference to me. I was doing it anyway. And I wasn’t going to stop.”

Read more on:    cape town  |  marijuana

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.