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Will Cannabis be Legalized in South Africa?

South Africa’s constitutional court enacted decriminalization of Cannabis use, possession, and cultivation in 2018. However, the court has ruled that Cannabis can only be used privately, and anyone found in possession of Cannabis can be prosecuted. 

Currently, it is illegal to buy or sell cannabis seeds and CBD products in the country due to the ruling by the constitutional court forbidding their use within the country. And while the use of recreational and medical Cannabis is decriminalized in the country for private use, lawmakers are pushing a new bill that will completely legalize the use of Cannabis by the end of 2023. 

A new draft bill was presented in the constitutional court that states that an adult person could possess and use Cannabis in private places as well as the prescribed amount of Cannabis to be used in public places. In the recent bill passed in 2018, it was forbidden to use Cannabis in public places.

Further, the second agenda on the draft bill was to legalization the cultivation of Cannabis in private places. However, it is not known for sure if industries will be able to cultivate Cannabis on large scales or not. 

Moreover, according to the latest draft bill, people could possess up to 600g of dried Cannabis per person in a single household. But if more than two adults are living in a single house then they’re allowed to store up to 1.2kg of Cannabis in their homes. Similarly, the policies regarding Cannabis seeds were quite generous as well. Adult People could own an unlimited amount of seeds and seedlings on their private property. 

This bill proposed by the department of agriculture was part of the master priority plans for the year 2022-2023 to boost the economy of the country and reform the drug laws in the country. 

When Will Cannabis Be Legalized in South Africa? 

Cannabis is very suitable to grow in South Africa due to its fertile land and its ability to support large cultivation scales. And since the Cannabis industry is buzzing and is worth billions, they could potentially increase the GDP of the country.  

Since the reforms in 2018, Cannabis use is on the rise in South Africa but there are certain rules and regulations that are restricting the agriculture industry to grow in the county. However, the latest draft bill, which is not exactly ideal, is pointing towards a bright future of Cannabis in South Africa.

The draft bill proposed mentioned decriminalizing the use of Cannabis in public places but failed to address the concerns regarding the punishments set for non-violent Cannabis charges. Critics also mentioned that regulatory authority also failed to provide a reliable process of obtaining Cannabis seeds and seedlings and the customer would be illicitly obtaining it from the black market, which is certainly not helping the cause. 

Currently, farmers with proper licensing issues by the regulatory authorities can cultivate, import and export decriminalized Cannabis products in the country. Unfortunantly, the new bill has been quiet on how it will make things easier for farmers and industrialists to get their hands on Cannabis products. 

It is expected that South Africa will legalize the use of Cannabis by the end of the year 2023. It is too soon to say if they will completely legalize the use of Cannabis with a single bill or use multiple bills to thoroughly plan everything. 


The majority of Southern African countries are changing the drug laws in the countries and a handful of them have already decriminalized the use of medical Cannabis. However, with South Africa serving as a role model by legalizing the use of Cannabis in the country, it is expected that the rest of African countries will follow in SA’s footsteps.

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