Is Weed Legal in South Africa? | The Laws Around Marijuana

Where does South Africa stand as the entire world moves closer to legalizing cannabis for recreational and medical purposes? Is weed legal in South Africa? How much marijuana are you allowed to have? These are just some of the questions that’ll be answered here today.

In 2018, the Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled that growing, using, and possessing marijuana was no longer a criminal offense. This was a major victory for weed advocates as it meant they and the public could enjoy the benefits of dagga without police dampening their high.

However, there are certain limitations that the laws come with as per the quantity, where you can grow and use it and more. Learn more about these limitations below and get the answer to “is marijuana legal in South Africa?”

Weed Laws in South Africa

hand running through weed leaves

As you probably already know, weed comes in different shapes and forms. The ConCourt accounted for this in their ruling by defining marijuana as anything that carries the plant’s compounds. This includes CBD oil and edibles in addition to regular dagga.

Shortly after passing the ruling, the court gave Parliament two years to respond. The response came in 2020 by way of a Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill which you can read here. With it came rules that everyone had to follow to stay on the right side of the law – this isn’t Amsterdam, after all.

The Bill is currently a draft, but it’s expected to be formalized in the 2022/23 financial year. Although, this doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy your share of legal weed in South Africa in the meantime.

Another positive from the Bill is that it proposed that the criminal records of people previously imprisoned for minor weed possession would get their record expunged.

Limitations on Cannabis in South Africa

As stated above, there are regulations that you have to follow to enjoy your cannabis without facing jail time.

Private Use

The most important thing to remember with South African weed laws is that they make provisions for private use. As per the Bill, private places that are eligible are buildings, houses, rooms, homes, boats, or land that aren’t a public area. This also applies to growing cannabis.

This means that smoking in public and selling or purchasing weed is still a criminal act.

person rolling up weed from a jar

How Much Weed is Allowed?

Use or possession of weed in South Africa is also regulated by weight. According to the Bill, you can have a maximum of 600 grams at one time or 1.2 kilograms for two or more adults in a household.

Further, one person can have four flowering plants, and a household with multiple adults can carry eight. On the bright side, you’re allowed to possess an unlimited amount of cannabis seeds.

Public possession of weed “in private” is also allowed, so long as you don’t have more than 100 grams on you. This means that you can keep your green on you so long as it’s concealed from public view. Just remember, you can’t spark a blunt in public as per cannabis laws in South Africa.

Consequences for Breaking the Law

We strongly recommend following the dagga laws in South Africa as they’re pretty simple to follow. If you decide to break them, just be aware that there are consequences that mean that last puff could be your last for years.

If you decide to play dealer, you face the possibility of getting hit with a maximum of 15 years in jail. This will especially be on the extreme end of the scale if you sell to a minor.

As for using weed in public, you could end up serving two years behind bars. This increases to four years if you smoke weed with a minor nearby.


cbd oil

Globally, CBD oil has been growing in popularity as an alternative way to get the benefits of weed without getting high. This is because CBD differs from THC and doesn’t have any mind-altering effects on you.

It’s for this reason that cannabidiol (CBD) is legal in the Rainbow Nation. The legalization of CBD oil only came after a legal battle in 2019, shortly after the ConCourt (partially) made marijuana legal in South Africa.

The laws that limit the possession and use of dagga in South Africa don’t apply to CBD oil as it can be commercialized. This means that you can create and sell CBD oil to the public or even use it in public.

Many producers jumped on this train early as there are various places to buy CBD oil, including pharmacies and online stores. Plus, you can even purchase CBD oil on Takealot and get it delivered right to your doorstep.

However, like the cannabis law in South Africa, there are limitations that govern every product in the market. The Department of Health states that CBD products can only be sold if they don’t exceed a maximum daily dose of 20mg. The sellers also can’t make any claims to treat or cure specific medical conditions.

Is Cannabis Legal in South Africa Finally Answered

two people smoking and sharing a blunt

If you were one of the many people asking, “is weed legalized in South Africa?” you’ve got your answer. Cannabis is legal so long as it’s being grown and used privately and isn’t brought to the public.

Further, you can’t buy or sell cannabis legally. You also have to follow a set of regulations around the amount of weed you can have and grow at once.

The decriminalization of private cannabis use and possession, coupled with the legality of CBD oil, provides us a glimmer of hope that more change is imminent. Sure, we won’t be like Amsterdam any time soon, but you can now smoke freely without the paranoia of hearing police sirens.

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