Photo by Matteo Paganelli on Unsplash
  • South Africans are now allowed to grow dagga in "private spaces" – in theory.
  • But there remains much uncertainty about what will be allowed, and you still run the risk of being arrested if you grow dagga at home.
  • Here are some of the key points to keep in mind.


The Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday that South Africans are now allowed to grow dagga in a private space for personal consumption as long as they are adults.

Here are some key implications for prospective home growers:

You can still get arrested for growing dagga.

Following the ruling, Parliament still has to make a decision on the quantity of dagga that adults would be allowed to grow. 

For now, according to the Constitutional Court ruling, the police could still arrest you if they have a reasonable suspicion that the dagga that you are growing is not only for your own consumption.

"The greater the amount of cannabis of which a person is in possession, the greater the possibility is that it is possessed for a purpose other than for personal consumption. Where a person is charged with possession of cannabis, the State will bear the onus to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the purpose of the possession was not personal consumption," the ruling states.

This leaves some discretion to the police to arrest individuals who are found in possession of cannabis, says professor Pierre de Vos, constitutional law scholar at the University of Cape Town.

"However, the judgment minimises the possibility that this power will be abused by an overzealous police officer by making clear that when in doubt, the police officer should not arrest an individual found in possession of cannabis." 

Read: Smoking dagga is being decriminalised, but you can still be fired for it – maybe

You can grow dagga in any private space – but it's not yet clear where that would be.

The judgment specifically states that dagga could be cultivated in any private space – not just at your home or at a private dwelling.

"An example of cultivation of cannabis in a private place is the garden of one’s residence.  It may also be that one may cultivate it in a place other than in one’s garden if that place can be said to be a private place," the ruling says.

A private space is currently not defined by law, De Vos told Business Insider South Africa.

“I would imagine that it would mean any place that the general public don’t have (an automatic) right to access – which could include a house and even a restaurant, bar or hotel.”

"Whether a private club, which only admits members, may be seen as a private space is one of the many questions that still remain unanswered," said De Vos. “It will remain a grey area until legislation is adopted.”

You are allowed to grow dagga inside a property.

"It may or may not be that it can also be grown inside an enclosure or a room under certain circumstances," the Constitutional Court ruling states.

You can get arrested for buying seeds or plants to grow dagga.

The new ruling clearly states that only the private consumption of dagga is allowed – you are not allowed to sell or buy dagga from anyone.

You probably won't need green fingers – but fish poo could help.

“It’s not hard to grow dagga - it’s called weed for a reason,” a private home grower, who wished to remain anonymous, told us.

He uses his crop strictly for medicinal purposes to help cope with arthritis. He does not sell.

Weed in your backyard.

According to our grower, 20 litres of soil is the optimal minimum volume required to help the plants' roots thrive and establish themselves outdoors.

Growing them indoors in buckets is also an option, however, cannabis needs a lot of light to grow. Our grower has been using fish waste, from his aquarium, to help fertilise the soil. He’s found that this natural fertiliser is much more effective than regular fertiliser and provides good nutrients to his stock.

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