Children should not be prosecuted for using cannabis: Centre for Child Law

It should not be illegal for children to use cannabis, that's the call from the Centre for Child Law. It's asking the South Gauteng High Court to decriminalise the use of marijuana by children. Courtesy #DStv403

Editor's note: This article has been amended to reflect that the Centre for Child Law says children should not be prosecuted for using cannabis.

JOHANNESBURG - The Centre for Child Law says children should not be dealt with more harshly than adults when being caught using cannabis. 

The organisation is asking the South Gauteng High Court to reconsider prosecuting children caught smoking cannabis

Last year, the Constitutional Court made it legal for adults to cultivate and consume marijuana in the privacy of their own homes.

"We are not saying that the smoking of marijuana by minors should be decriminalised...that's not what we are saying. This case is an automatic review of criminal proceedings that were brought against children in the Child Justice Court", said Centre for Child Law attorney, Lithalethemba Stwayi. 

READ: Legal weed: What you need to know

Stwayi says children are being treated more harshly compared to adults and circumstances surrounding why they smoke marijuana are not being taken into consideration by the government, rather they are prosecuted by the criminal justice system.

"Should a child be found drunk at school then the substance abuse act comes into play. You also have to check what the circumstances are...what is the reason behind this and you can actually take them [children] to rehab", she said.

"At the moment we have a gap in how to deal with children."


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