A 1971 law, and the parallel growth of an illegal economy, shaped South Africa’s unique cannabis landscape.
Policy makers need to protect and promote the interests of people whose indigenous knowledge and toil developed a thriving national cannabis economy - in the face of harsh police crackdowns.
Court ruling may well undo decades of often racist cannabis law enforcement.
The legalisation of the private use of cannabis in South Africa is a victory for human rights. But, much more work needs to be done to make it practical.
If South Africa’s argument in court is that marijuana causes harm, it deserves to lose. The real question it should ask is whether criminal prohibition is the effective way forward.