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Criminal records for cannabis possession could soon be wiped clean

If you’ve been arrested for possession of weed, you could soon have your criminal record wiped clean.

The Department of Justice is busy working on new laws in response to the Constitutional Court judgement that decriminalised the possession and use of cannabis for personal purposes.

The government is reportedly looking at all possible options for people who were arrested with less than 10 grams of cannabis, paid an admission of guilt fine and never appeared in court.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola announced this in Parliament, in response to a question from the EFF about all the people serving prison time and holding criminal records for cannabis possession.

“Everyone who has been convicted for the possession of dagga but is not serving a prison sentence could apply to the Department of Justice to have their criminal records expunged,” Lamola said.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that all the applications will be approved. The Constitutional Court judgement only applies from the date on which it was handed down, 18 September 2018, and not retrospectively. 

“Somebody who applies to have their criminal record expunged will have to indicate whether the conviction occurred before September 18 last year or thereafter,” Lamola said.

Lamola revealed that there are currently 1041 people serving jail sentences for possession of weed. If they want to make use of this expungement process, they will have to apply to President Cyril Ramaphosa for a pardon.

“The department is now ready and willing to assist such people who want to apply for presidential pardons,” Lamola said.

Zootly says: We’ll keep you updated on the legal progress as South Africa slowly but surely gets more bud-friendly!

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