The Constitutional Court has ruled that dagga for personal use in not illegal. Picture Ayanda Ndamane

Durban - While the ruling made in the Constitutional Court this morning, decriminalising dagga for private use, has been hailed by many, the ChristianView Network has slammed the decision and accused the ConCourt of overreaching.

In a statement issued following the Constitutional Court’s decision, the network said the ruling, made by  Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, set a precedent that has implications not only for dagga, but now leaves almost any law open to being overturned on grounds of a stretched interpretation of the right to 'privacy' or other similar concepts, not the intended meaning of the Constitutional Assembly.  

“This can create a constitutional crisis that has undermined and threatens our democracy.  If parliament accepts this decision, it is rendered a junior decision making body - ceding substantive power for major decisions to an elite committee of unelected lawyers,” the organisation’s Philip Rosenthal said.

“We condemn the unanimous decision. Judge Dennis Davis’s order had confined the declaration of invalidity to private adult use at home, while the Constitutional Court did not limit it to use at home. It did not specify a limit on the amount of dagga a person may have in their possession, leaving this for parliament to decide.  The applicants were further granted a cost order on disbursements in bringing,” he said.

Rosenthal said the judgment does not decriminalise possession of dagga by a child, but makes it near impossible to enforce this.

“The scientific evidence on which the Western Cape High Court based its decision was extremely thin and not tested by oral argument, either in that court nor afterwards.  The argument used in the judgment that the harms due to alcohol are greater than dagga, has a fraction of truth, but is misleadingly cited in the judgment,” he said.

The network called today’s ruling “reckless and foolish”.

Meanwhile, Neil Webster of the Cannabis Development Council of South Africa (CDCSA) has welcomed the ruling He said the ruling will transform dagga use in SA from a criminal issue to a social issue and free up much needed police resources to focus on real crime.

And as usual, the Twitteratti had to have their say.




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