A fight is underway in the courts, led by the Centre for Child Law, to decriminalise the use and possession of cannabis for children.
This is after four learners from Krugersdorp were sentenced to an “undetermined period” at a Bosasa Youth Development Centre after it was found they had failed to comply with a rehabilitation order imposed on them for testing positive for marijuana.
After serving 77 days the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg intervened and they were immediately released from custody.
But the case has called into question whether children should face harsher penalties for use and possession of dagga than adults.
Since the Constitutional Court judgment in Prince v Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development it is no longer a crime for adults to use, cultivate or be in possession of cannabis in a private place for personal use.
We are saying children should not be criminally prosecuted if they are found to be in possession of or using cannabis.— Zita Hansungule, Project coordinator for Research and Advocacy - Centre For Child Law
We say that emphasis should be placed rather on treating drug dependency outside of the home and not taking children through the criminal justice system.— Zita Hansungule, Project coordinator for Research and Advocacy - Centre For Child Law
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This article first appeared on CapeTalk : We can't turn our kids into criminals over cannabis, says Centre for Child Law