THE recent arrests of people found with dagga has once again raised questions about what the South African law says regarding the legal amount citizens are allowed to have on their person.
In May this year, Russel de Beer, 49, Archibald Mogale, 34, and Charne Steyn, 27, were arrested for allegedly dealing following the discovery of R2m worth of dagga.
In the same month, five suspects were arrested en route to Cape Town after police got a tip-off about 115 bags of dagga being transported from the Eastern Cape.
Five people aged between 27 and 41 years old were arrested for dealing in dagga after 115 bags of dagga were found in refuse bags that were placed on a trailer. The trailer was attached to a minibus taxi.
This past Monday, two suspects were arrested after they were allegedly found with 68 bags of cannabis with an estimated street value of R1.16 million on the N1 freeway in Paarl on Monday night.
Then, on Tuesday, Free State police arrested three men travelling from KwaZulu-Natal to Gauteng with 38 bags of dagga weighing 131kg and with an estimated street value of more than R170 000.
In 2018, the Constitutional Court ruled that the use of cannabis was legal for both personal and medical use. However, even though private use of cannabis has been decriminalised, the buying and selling of cannabis, cannabis oil and cannabis seeds remains illegal.
For example, no one is allowed to have over 600 grams of dried cannabis if they live alone. In a home with two or three adults, only 1.2 kilograms is allowed.
Having unlimited seeds and seedlings as well as four flowering plants for those living alone or eight for homes with two adults is also allowed.
The possession of cannabis “in private” in a public place is limited to 100 grams. In this instance, “in private” means to keep, store, transport or be in control of cannabis or a cannabis plant, respectively, in a manner that conceals it from public view.
Children have also been protected from being taken through the justice system for being in possession of dagga.
Last year, Judge Ingrid Opperman of the Gauteng High Court declared sections of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act unconstitutional and invalid where it criminalised the use or possession of cannabis by children.
She said criminalising children for dagga-related offences, even under the guise of prevention, would have a detrimental effect on them.
However, she said the selling or provision of cannabis to children remained an offence.
According to Xolani Fihla of the Johannesburg Metro Police, if someone is found in possession of dagga exceeding that which the law allows for, the person is arrested and the dagga booked in as evidence.
At the conclusion of the case, it is burnt, he said. – IOL