South Africa Legalizes Weed – What do people think?
Cannabis in South Africa has been decriminalised by the country’s Constitutional Court for personal consumption by adults in private.
The Constitutional Court ruled on 18 September 2018 that the personal use of cannabis is not a criminal offence in South Africa
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Before prohibition against the plant was lifted in 2018 advocates pressured the government to modify its laws, which first restricted cannabis in 1922, to allow exemptions for medical use, religious practices, and other purposes. The regional term dagga (Afrikaans pronunciation: [/ˈdaχa/]) is commonly used for cannabis; it derives from the Khoikhoi word dacha, which was used by the early European colonial settlers in the Western Cape.
The Constitutional Court ruled on 18 September 2018 that the personal use of cannabis is not a criminal offence in South Africa .
Beginning in 1860, the Natal Colony began to import Indian workers (called “coolies” at the time) to supplement their labour force. These Indians brought with them the habit of consuming cannabis and hashish, which blended with local, extant African traditions. The European authorities were concerned by this practice, believing it sapped the vitality of their workers; consequently, in 1870, Natal’s Coolie Law Consolidation prohibited “the smoking, use, or possession by and the sale, barter, or gift to, any Coolies whatsoever, of any portion of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa)…”
Both the Cape and Transvaal colonies restricted the growth of the plant, which they considered a “noxious weed”; in 1891, the Cape Colony prohibited cannabis under Act 34, and the Free State outlawed dealing in cannabis in 1903. In 1908, Natal began to regulate the sale of cannabis.
In the Transvaal, dagga was sold “openly and normally” by storekeepers to miners.
Although white farmers did cultivate cannabis in the 18th century and early 19th century, consumption by the farmers themselves was rare. However, even cultivation fell out of favour later in the 19th century. In 1921, “serious signs of a moral panic focusing around dagga” appeared, centred on the Western Cape. A concern developed about the “‘camaraderie’ which led some to lay aside race and other prejudices with regard to fellow” drug users.
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