Cape Town - The Centre for Child Law notes media reports that perpetuate that it advocates for children to be allowed “to smoke weed”. The Centre strongly rejects these media reports and is disappointed by their misrepresentative nature.
The Centre does not argue that children should be allowed to smoke weed. The Centre argues that if children are found to be using cannabis then they should not be dealt with by the criminal justice system.
The children should instead receive the support of parents, communities, Department of Social Development and/or other certified social welfare services which will ensure that the children receive the rehabilitative programmes needed having taken their individual needs into account. The aim of this approach is to avoid children being exposed to the brutalising effect of the criminal justice system that does not have the necessary mechanisms to properly deal with cannabis dependency.
The Centre for Child Law was invited by the High Court, to be a ‘friend of the court’, to make submissions regarding the treatment of children charged with allegedly contravening section 4(1)(b) of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act 140 of 1992. The facts that gave rise to the matter are: