It’s official: Cabinet wants to let you have 1.2kg of dagga at home – if you don’t live alone

Business Insider SA

  • The Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill has been published ahead of its submission in Parliament.
  • The draft law simultaneously criminalises smoking dagga in public or selling it, and sets limits on how much dried dagga individuals may own for private use.
  • In its current form, the law allows homes to have dagga stashes of 1.2 kilograms – as long as at least two adults live there.
  • Singletons are limited to 600 grams.
  • South Africans will be allowed to give one another 100 grams of dried dagga at a time, or 30 seeds, as long as they do so for free.
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* This article has been updated throughout.

A draft law that lays out the details of legal dagga posession in South Africa has now been published ahead of its submission to Parliament.

The Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill is a successor to what was previously called the Regulation of Cannabis Bill, when it was circulated among some interested parties during 2019.

The new draft, now approved by cabinet, has seen no significant structural changes, but sets different limits on what will be considered too much dagga to qualify as being for personal use.

The Bill set a maximum jail term of 15 years for anyone who deals in cannabis, or provides it to a child. 

Anyone who smokes dagga in public, or too close to a window, or "in the immediate presence of any non-consenting adult person" may be jailed for up to two years. Smoking dagga around children, on the other hand, can come with up to four years in jail.

Cannabis is defined as anything containing the psychoactive THC, and so would include vaping of dagga-derived liquids.

Possessing commercial and "trafficable" quantities of dagga would remain criminal if the law were passed in its current form.

Legal limits for personal, legal use at home are set to:

  • unlimited for seeds and seedlings
  • four flowering plants for those living alone, or eight for homes with two adults or more
  • 600 grams of dried cannabis if you live alone, or 1.2 kilograms in homes with two or more adults.

In public places, possession is set to 100 grams of cannabis or one flowering plant.

For purposes of exchange between individuals – as long as there is absolutely no remuneration involved – limits are set to:

  • 30 seeds or seedlings, or a mixture of the two
  • one flowering plant
  • 100 grams of dry cannabis.

The draft law sets up a system of equivalency in which two immature cannabis plants equal one flowering plant, and five grams of fresh cannabis is equal to one gram of dried product. That means people will be able to exchange up to half a kilogram of fresh dagga in public, or may gift each other two immature plants.

* This article was updated throughout after publication of the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill, to replace information drawn from an older, unofficial draft of the Bill.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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