UPDATE: For the latest, updated legal information, please read Cannabis Laws in South Africa.
Cabinet has put forward to parliament suggestions on the laws around legalizing weed plants and their products. The bill still needs to be approved, but its overall purpose is twofold:
- Government’s official response to Judge Davies’ September 2018 ruling making the use and cultivation of cannabis permissible in private.
- Setting the foundation for establishing a taxable commercial cannabis market in South Africa.
You will be permitted to grow weed at home. A friend may gift you some of their homegrown. If you don’t want to grow your own and don’t know a friend who does, you’ll have to break the law until time exists when one can legally buy from a local marijuana dispensary.
Good news, if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t love reading drawn-out legal documents. We’ve got the short and sweet version for you right here.
The Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill
In a nutshell, it’s all about possession, growing, and the use of weed plants and products. The legislation focuses on what amounts of dagga can be considered legal for consuming, cultivating, possessing, and sharing, in both private and public spaces. It tells you how much weed you may have, where you may have it, and what you may do (and not do) with it.
Exceed these restrictions and you could face a fine, jail time, or both. Here are the highlights.
Definitions and guidelines:
- Cannabis is any part of the plant (from root to tip) or anything containing psychoactive THC (from flowers to concentrates).
- These laws apply to adults, aged 18-years and older.
- They do not apply to low THC “hemp” plants.
- A seedling is a marijuana plant less than 15 cm tall and 15cm wide.
- One mature flowering plant is equivalent to two immature non-flowering plants, greater than 15cm tall and wide.
- 1g of dried cannabis = 5g fresh (undried) cannabis or 0.25g liquid or solid concentrates.
- The legal limit for a single person household is doubled in a home of two or more persons.
- In private, cannabis must be kept out of public view.
- In public, it must always be “possessed in private” (concealed from plain sight).
In private, adults may:
- Possess unlimited seeds and seedlings.
- Possess up to 600g of dried cannabis per person (1200g in a home of 2 or more persons).
- Grow up to 4 flowering or 8 immature plants in a single person household (doubled in a home of 2 or more persons).
In public, adults may possess and share as a gift:
- Up to 100g of dried cannabis or equivalent.
- A total of 30 seeds and/or seedlings.
- 1 flowering plant or equivalent.
Adults may NOT:
- Grow or store cannabis in an unsecured place that is accessible to a child.
- Permit a child to grow, use, possess, or deal with marijuana.
- Consume cannabis in the presence of a non-consenting adult or child (younger than 18-years-old).
- Smoke weed near another person’s property or where it may be a hindrance to someone.
- Use weed in a vehicle on a public road.
- Exchange weed (give or accept) for remuneration in any form (compensation, gift, reward, favor, or benefit).
- The legal limits as they’ve been laid out are considered the “prescribed quantity”.
- A fine and/or up-to 2-years in prison is the most lenient punishment for exceeding this prescribed amount, but falling below a “trafficable quantity” (for “Class A” offenses).
- A “Class B” offense also operates within trafficable limits but will get you up to 4-years in prison and/or a fine.
- “Class C” offenses are considered “trafficable quantities” and come with a maximum of 6-years imprisonment and/or a fine.
- You do NOT want to commit a “commercial quantity”, “Class D” offense because you could be in line for a sentence of up to 15-years and/or a fine.
It’s good news for those with past criminal records or currently serving sentences - they’ll be able to apply to have their names cleared. Not so great though, if they’ve already served their time.
These legal limits will no doubt be received well by hobby growers. You can grow in peace and share your dagga with your buddies. Just be careful because the limits are tight. Carrying an extra 100g in public or growing 2 more plants at home can get you up to 6 years in prison. See the table summary below.The bottom line is this. Cannabis laws in South Africa still have a long way to go for us to reap the commercial and medical value of this healing herb. But let’s focus on the good news. Soon it will be entirely legal to grow at home. We’ll help get you started with over 140 premium-quality strains to choose from. Go ahead and buy weed seeds now.
Read the full 25-page private cannabis bill here.