The Supreme Court of South Africa has agreed that there is no big difference between a dealer and a Cannabis Club. The High Court says it is not for the courts to decide the legality of culture clubs, which are set up to circumvent the Drugs Actwhich regulates drug use in South Africa.
The Haze Club case dismissed by the High Court of South Africa
Based on the right to self-determination, Cannabis Social Clubs appeared everywhere after the decriminalization of cannabis in South Africa. One of them, the The Haze Club (THC), was raided by the police and attempted to argue, through a High Court legal action, that Cannabis Social Clubs are a solution for people who do not want or cannot cultivate themselves.
The Cape Town High Court announced this week that it was rejecting the Club’s claim. The Haze Club may appeal, but Justice Slingers’ decision confirms that trade and cannabis legalization are matters of public policy and fall within the purview of the legislature, not the judiciary.
The state argued that the club did not operate in a private space and was therefore in violation of the law.
In her ruling, Justice Slingers said allowing a growers’ club to operate in the absence of statutory or regulatory requirements and guidelines “could have the practical effect of legalizing the sale of cannabis.”
“The legislator may consider legislating on this point in the future, but that does not mean that the courts should anticipate it. Trade and cannabis legalization involves policy issues and falls within the purview of legislators, not the judiciary. »
She stated that plaintiffs and their clients are not barred from consuming or cultivating cannabis: they are simply barred from outsourcing that right.
Operating a grow club is therefore still considered a criminal offense under South African drug trafficking law and a conviction may result in a prison term.
The grow club was based on a business model where a person or entity rents land, equipment, and gardening services; grows, on behalf of its clients, plant material, including cannabis; and does not own or supply its customers with cannabis, cannabis plants or feminized cannabis seeds.
Haze Club Solicitor Shaad Vayej said an appeal is likely: “Unfortunately the Haze Club’s claim has been dismissed by the Cape Town High Court. This represents a narrow interpretation of the right to privacy, which is a private space, and restrictions on the private cultivation of cannabis, as contemplated by the Constitutional Court in the Prince 3 case.”
“However, this is not the end of the road, as an appeal is likely to follow. »