S.Africa Close to lifting cannabis Ban

South Africa Flag on cannabis background. Drug policy. Legalization of marijuana

For one South African mother, cannabis was an illegal drug to warn her son about when he became a teenager: today, she uses it to treat his rare medical condition.
Now the ban on using the drug is being challenged in the High Court, raising the possibility that it could effectively be decriminalised. “When I first heard of medical cannabis, I thought they were smoking it because they wanted to get high,” said Susanne, who asked for her real name to be withheld.
“Then I had a kid who could actually benefit from it.” She remembers the impact that cannabis oil appeared to have on her seven-year-old son, who suffers from Costello syndrome which causes delayed physical and mental development.
“A month after he first started taking it we had a family function and they were gobsmacked,” she said. “For the first time he played on his own and didn’t need his mummy,” she added, explaining he was prone to restlessness and joint pain as a result of the condition.
Susanne was persuaded to try the oil by Gerd Bader, a South African cannabis advocate, who manufactures concentrated cannabis oil to treat his own multiple sclerosis.
Bader and Susanne are among a growing number of South Africans calling for cannabis — known locally as “dagga” to be legalised for medical purposes. At the moment, possessing, growing or using marijuana even in small quantities can lead to jail time, a fine and a criminal record.
However a court in the Western Cape region ruled in March that a ban on cannabis use by adults at home was unconstitutional, effectively decriminalising it in the province that includes Cape Town.
Globally, the legal status of cannabis varies widely. In Portugal, for example, possession and use is largely decriminalised, while users in Saudi Arabia face the death penalty.


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