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South Africa's Highest Court Decriminalizes Marijuana

While many complain about the United States of America's harsh marijuana laws, many countries around the world do have it worse.  That list, however, no longer includes South Africa.

South Africa's Constitutional Court, the highest court in the country, unanimously ruled that marijuana use is now allowed for adults in private places, effectively decriminalizing the drug throughout the country. The court also ruled that growing cannabis for the purpose of private consumption would also be allowed under the law. The court did rule that using marijuana in public is still illegal, as is selling or supplying it. 

The Constitutional Court also gave the country's legislature 24 months to amend current laws to reflect this ruling.

It appears the main concern for the Constitutional Court was privacy. Three people were appealing their criminal convictions for marijuana possession on the grounds that the arrests violated their personal privacy. The South African Constitution is one of the most liberal in the world and puts a lot of emphasis on individual freedoms, including the right to privacy.

Some of South Africa's poorer communities are currently struggling with drug gangs, and some wonder if this ruling could possibly help solve some of those issues.

The question is how long does it take for the government to realize this could be a boon for their economy and begin allowing legal sales.

(h/t BBC)


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