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Term: Cannabis in South Africa

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Cannabis in South Africa (Wikipedia)

Cannabis in South Africa has been decriminalised by the country's Constitutional Court for personal consumption by adults in private. However, laws prohibiting use outside of one's private dwelling and buying and selling cannabis still remain. Since regulations against the purchase of products containing cannabis still remain in effect, it is unclear how the ruling can be enforced.

Before prohibition against the plant was lifted in 2018 advocates pressured the government to modify its laws, which first restricted cannabis in 1922, to allow exemptions for medical use, religious practices, and other purposes. Dagga (Afrikaans pronunciation: [/ˈdaχa/]), is the Afrikaans term commonly referred to for cannabis; it derives from the Khoikhoi word dacha, which was used by the early European colonial settlers in the Western Cape.

Cannabis is thought to have been introduced to Africa by early Arab or Indian traders. It was already in popular use in South Africa by the indigenous Khoisan and Bantu peoples prior to European settlement in the Cape in 1652, and was traditionally used by Basotho to ease childbirth. According to author Hazel Crampton, old Afrikaner recipes for teas and foods exist which make use of the plant. Use of the plant was associated with traditional African populations and a lower economic status.

Longitudinal research studies by the Medical Research Council (MRC) report that the number of cannabis users in South Africa was 2.2 million in 2004, and 3.2 million in 2008. In 2003, Interpol rated South Africa as the fourth-largest cannabis producer in the world, and the Institute for Security Studies reported that most cannabis seized in the UK and a third globally had South African origins.

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