It seems several ministries, who opposed the decriminalisation of dagga for private use, have been caught on the back foot.
Before today, possession of marijuana in South Africa got you up to 15 years in prison. But the highest court in the land said clearly marijuana was not allowed to be smoked publicly. However, private use does have the go-ahead as of Tuesday 18 September.
A Rastafarian, Garreth Prince and the leader of Dagga party Jeremy Acton had filed the case and won.
The State failed to prove that the existing limitation of privacy was reasonable and justifiable. Since that initial ruling, those arrested with cannabis had been able to argue in court it was for personal use and then judges would dictate whether it was an applicable defense for the charge.
The government now has 24 months to officially write this bill into law.
"Then, there will be cases where it will be hard to tell whether the possession is for personal consumption or not". According to the Constitutional Court, police officers will have to determine this on a case by case basis. It may even mean that the exception violates the so-called principle of fair warning.
Parliament is now expected to amend the laws that criminalize cannabis following the court ruling.
In a landmark judgment delivered on Tuesday morning, the apex court declared section 4 (b) and section 5 (b) of the Drugs Act and section 22A (9)(a)(i) of the Medicines Act constitutionally invalid.
It appears the main concern for the Constitutional Court was privacy.
"It will no longer be an offense for an adult to consume or own cannabis for his own personal consumption at home", he added.
However, the Constitutional Court differed with the part of High Court judgment which decriminalized purchase of cannabis. But once again, it remains to be seen how the courts will interpret the distinction between public and private use in practice.
But in July the Dutch government gave the green light to a wide-ranging experiment to allow up to 10 municipalities around the country to legally grow cannabis.
The use of Cannabis (marijuana) was decriminalized on Tuesday, after a provincial high court past year, alongside Gareth Prince, found that the law against it was inconsistent with the country's constitution.
Know someone who is extremely talented and needs recognition? Though quantities of how much can be possessed or grown at a time were not included in the ruling, this makes South Africa the third country in Africa to implement cannabis-friendly laws, with Zimbabwe and Lesotho having medical marijuana laws in place already.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.