South Africa: The Cannabis judgment: Implications for society and the workplace

South Africa: The Cannabis judgment: Implications for society and the workplace
CANNANNEW REPORT

South Africa’s apex court has ruled on the issue of the use, possession and cultivation of cannabis by adult persons in private. On 18 September 2018, the Constitutional Court handed down its much-anticipated judgment in the consolidated matter of Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and Others v Prince; National Director of Public Prosecutions and Others v Rubin; National Director of Public Prosecutions and Others v Acton and Others [2018] ZACC 30 (Cannabis judgment). 20 September 2018 by Michael Yeates EMPLOYMENT ALERT The judgment deals with the constitutionality of the prohibition and criminalisation of the use of cannabis by adult persons in their private dwellings. The Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act 140 of 1992 (Drugs Act) read together with the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act 101 of 1965 (Medicines Act), prohibits and criminalises the use, possession, purchase and cultivation of cannabis by any individual in South Africa. The relevant provisions of the legislation are as follows: 1. Drug Act Section 4(b) and 5(b) Part III of Schedule 2 2. Medicines Act Section 22A(9)(a)(i) Schedule 7 History – previous legal challenges relating to cannabis Gareth Prince (Prince), one of the cited parties in the Cannabis judgment, is a practicing Rastafarian, and holder of a law degree, who resides in Cape Town. When Prince applied to the Law Society of the Cape of Good Hope to register his contract of community service, the law society refused. Subsequently, when Prince applied to the law society to be admitted as an attorney, they refused once again. The law society argued that Prince held two previous criminal convictions for possession of cannabis and that he openly admitted that he will continue smoking cannabis (even in the face of legal sanction). The law society therefore did not believe that Prince could be classified as a fit and proper person…

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