South African court says marijuana use in private is legal

FILE - In this file photo dated March 29, 2018, a Malawian migrant Jonas smokes marijuana on the rooftop of an abandoned building in downtown Johannesburg, South Africa. South Africa's Constitutional Court on Tuesday Sept. 18, 2018, upheld a provincial court's ruling for the decriminalisation of marijuana, saying adults can use the drug in private. (AP Photo/Bram Janssen, File)

South Africa's top court says marijuana use in private is legal, despite government objection

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa's top court says adults can use marijuana in private.

The Constitutional Court on Tuesday upheld a provincial court's ruling in a case involving Gareth Prince, who advocates the decriminalization of the drug.

Prince says cannabis should be regulated in the same way as alcohol and tobacco. Government authorities have said cannabis is harmful and should be illegal.

The top court says an adult can cultivate cannabis in "a private place" as long as it is for personal consumption in private. It says the right to privacy "extends beyond the boundaries of a home."

The court says it would be up to a police officer to decide if the amount of marijuana in someone's possession is for personal consumption or dealing.

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