n Law, Democracy & Development - Freedom of religion v drug traffic control : the Rastafarian, the law, society and the right to smoke the "holy weed"

Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1028-1053
  • E-ISSN: 2077-4907



The Supreme Court of Appeal - South Africa's highest court for non-constitutional matters - recently had the opportunity to consider whether the prohibition on the use and possession of cannabis sativa (dagga) by Rastafarians constituted an unjustified infringement of their right to freedom of religion. This was an important test case for the court, as it is being perceived as struggling to adapt to the new constitutional dispensation and has been criticised for its reluctance to engage with the Bill of Rights in a meaningful way. The case was therefore of some importance not only for the particular outcome it might produce, but also for the way in which the court engaged with the constitutional issues of the case to reach the said outcome. As such, the SCA's approach towards the jurisprudence generated by the Constitutional Court on the topics of freedom of religion and the limitation of rights would speak volumes of its commitment to the (not so) new constitutional order based on the values of human dignity, equality and freedom trumpeted in the founding provision of the Constitution as well as in several sections of the Bill of Rights.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error