Police have issued a warning that dealing in dagga is still illegal.
In a joint statement with the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said establishment of illegal outlets, online sites and social media platforms marketing and selling dagga and related products to the public remains illegal, except where specifically allowed in terms of the Medicines and Related Substances Act.
“Some of these illegal businesses, purporting to be operating legally in terms of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act (No 22 of 2007), are also being sold to members of the public as franchises authorised to deal in dagga and related products. In terms of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act, the definition of ‘traditional medicine’ means an object or substance used in traditional health practice for the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of a physical or mental illness or any curative or therapeutic purpose, including the maintenance or restoration of physical or mental health or well-being in human beings, but does not include a dependence-producing or dangerous substance or drug. As a result, the Traditional Health Practitioners Act does not create a mechanism to sell cannabis and cannabis-related products that are not exempted in terms of the Medicines Act.”
Naidoo reminded the public of the effect of the Constitutional Court judgment handed down on September 18 last year.
“Only an adult person, 18 years and older, may use, possess or cultivate dagga in private for his or her personal consumption in private. The use, including smoking, of dagga in public or in the presence of children or in the presence of non-consenting adult persons is not allowed. The use or possession of dagga in private other than by an adult for his or her personal consumption is also not permitted,” Naidoo said.
Naidoo said dealing in dagga remains a serious criminal offence in terms of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act.
“Police are mandated to and will act, not only against businesses that sell dagga illegally, but also against the customers who buy these products,” he said.