The dagga saga is set to drag on for a while.
The state has appealed against the Cape Town High Court ruling that the cultivation and private use of dagga should be legalised.
Papers were filed by the National Director of Public Prosecutions and several other government departments this week.
The state said that it did not want any of the legislation around the use of dagga to be changed or amended.
“The high court ignored the case presented by the respondents and concentrated on the right to privacy, despite the right not being pertinently raised by the respondents‚” it said.
On March 31, a full bench found that the criminalisation of dagga was unconstitutional.
The case was brought to court by Rastafarian activist Gareth Prince and the Dagga Party.
In its judgment, the court found that the ban on the personal use of dagga by adults in their homes was an infringement of the constitutional right to privacy.
The court gave parliament 24 months to amend the Drugs and Trafficking Act and Medicines and Related Substance Control Act.
Dagga Party leader Jeremy Acton said the appeal by the state was expected and that it would give the pro-dagga lobbyists an opportunity to appeal for further reforms in the legislation. “We knew they would appeal‚” Acton said. “This gives us the right to cross appeal. We can then ask for more in our cross appeal.
“Our main concern is that the appeal is going to give the police more carte blanche [to arrest people] in the interim.”
Constitutional law expert Sharack Gutto said that while the court order stood‚ the use of dagga remained illegal until it was ratified by the Constitutional Court and put into law by parliament.
– TMG Digital