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18 Sep 2018 18:08
In a unanimous judgment, the Constitutional Court on Tuesday ordered that the private consumption and cultivation of cannabis be decriminalised. (Renata Larroyd/M&G)
A ruling by South Africa’s top court Tuesday legalising the personal use of cannabis puts the nation on course to become one of only a few to legalise cannabis for recreational purposes.
The Constitutional Court in Johannesburg has ordered parliament to draft new laws within 24 months to reflect its decision.
While many countries have decriminalised the use and possession of cannabis, abandoning prison sentences for consumers, only a handful have gone as far as to make it fully legal, including for medicinal purposes.
Here is an overview:
Under Uruguayan law, citizens and residents can buy up to 40 grammes of pot a month from pharmacies, grow it themselves at home, or join cannabis clubs where members tend to the plants together.
The government has licensed two private companies to produce and distribute marijuana.
That year the Dutch decriminalised the sale of small amounts of cannabis — less than five grammes — and allowed individuals to legally grow five plants each for personal use.
Dutch coffeeshops generate hundreds of millions of euros in sales annually, and in major hubs such as Amsterdam they have proven a major tourist draw.
In recent years, however, politicians have pushed back against these tolerant policies.
A controversial 2012 law bans the sale of marijuana to non-residents and tourists in three southern provinces.
The capital The Hague banned cannabis from the city centre in April this year.
But in July the Dutch government gave the green light to a wide-ranging experiment to allow up to 10 municipalities around the country to legally grow cannabis.
However eight states and the national capital Washington have legalised marijuana for recreational use, with the last to date, California, becoming on January 1 2018, the biggest legal market in the world.
Twenty-nine states and the capital have legalised marijuana for medical use.
The legislation will limit personal possession to 30 grammes and four plants per household.
© Agence France-Presse
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