The Center for Child Law believes that children are treated harshly for smoking cannabis. On Tuesday 25 June, the organisation asked the South Gauteng High Court to decriminalise children who have used dagga.
As a matter of fact, the attorney for Center for Child Law, Lithalethemba Stwayi, spoke about this matter in an eNCA interview.
The organisation wants the high court to re-evaluate the prosecution of children who have smoked cannabis.
“We are not saying that the smoking of marijuana by minors should be decriminalised…that’s not what we are saying.”
Smoking cannabis in schools
In most cases, the children who had been smoking cannabis attended schools for children with learning disabilities.
This was seen in Stwayi’s findings.
The school faculty had discovered that the children were smoking cannabis. The police then conducted urine tests among the students.
Stwayi stated that this was not the correct procedure.
Schools may conduct urine tests under the South African Schools Act. The schools then use the tests in the school disciplinary procedure.
She added that while it was legal for an adult to smoke cannabis there was still the harsh treatment of children that have been caught.
“The Substance Abuse Act comes into play when a child is be found drunk at school. You also have to check what the circumstances are…what is the reason behind this and you can actually take them [children] to rehab.”
In September 2018, smoking dagga became legal for adults in South Africa.
Constitutional Court Judge Raymond Zondo stated that the previous legislation was unconstitutional and invalid.
For decades the Dagga Party had fought for the legalisation of cannabis.