File picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - The Cannabis Development Council of South Africa (CDCSA) has welcomed the Constitutional Court's ruling regarding the private cultivation and use of cannabis. 

On Tuesday, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, announcing a unanimous verdict, said that certain sections of the legislation covering the use of cannabis was unconstitutional. 

Zondo pointed out that Parliament now has 24 months to repeal laws that banned smoking and cultivation of dagga in private homes.

The council says the ruling paves the way "for our people to benefit from this multi-billion dollar industry in SA.

"Cannabis has the potential to create new pathways for rural development and uplifting marginalised communities with the introduction of a legal cannabis industry in South Africa. Based on sustainable models of food, fuel, fibre, and medicine production at a community level, birthing massive economic and empowerment opportunities for grassroots development. Giving a legal framework to the hundreds of thousands of existing cannabis farmers in SA by providing access to new value chains and markets". 

According to the council, 180 000 people have been arrested for cannabis-related use, clogging up the criminal justice system. The council says the ConCourt 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".

IOL