Marijuana in South Africa – Can you Buy Marijuana Seeds in the Country?

If you want to buy marijuana seeds in South Africa, then you need to learn a little bit of background about marijuana in the country.

In South Africa, smoking weed (or “dagga,” as it is more commonly known there) can be very tempting because of its sheer abundance. First of all, the climate in the country is highly conducive to growing.

Second, although the South African government remains staunchly against marijuana use, the system is incorrigibly corrupt, which means that users, sellers, and growers easily get away with violations.

However, you should not be complacent about just smoking pot in the country. You do not know if you will be as lucky as those who got away. Here are some details about South African laws related to cannabis.

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The Big Picture

Marijuana is still completely illegal in South Africa, and the Central Drug Authority (CDA), the agency in charge of drug policy in the country, appears ready to pounce on anyone caught engaging in any activity related to cannabis. According to authorities, as published in a position paper on marijuana, this prohibition is in place to uphold and protect public health.

Sadly, the CDA also openly declares its anti-marijuana stance, thereby becoming one of the biggest factors slowing down the progress of legalization efforts in the country.

The herb is classified as a Schedule 7 narcotic there. For reference, note that there are currently nine drugs “schedules” in the country, from Schedule 0 (over the counter, includes aspirin and other simple analgesics) to Schedule 8 (strictly controlled substances, such as meth).

However, as with any other prohibition, the ban against cannabis in South Africa is only propelling an already flourishing underground marijuana industry. In fact, there are firmly established cartels who are thriving purely on cannabis.

Marijuana is commonly sold by the bag (known locally as “bankie,” which is the size of a bank coin bag). The illicit cannabis trade in South Africa is so rampant that sellers are so easy to spot and negotiate with. Online purchases are common as well.

These activities are the reason that the country is facing criticism and pressure from concerned local and international entities to crack down on this illicit market for weed. Consequently, much of the production and distribution by the cartels are moving westward.

South Africa remains a hotspot to international authorities, though, together with such countries as Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya. In other words, foreign law enforcement seems to be more interested in the illicit marijuana trade in South Africa than the local government itself.

The good news is that individuals, groups, and other firm supporters of the use of marijuana in South Africa, especially for medicinal purposes, are still hard at work in lobbying for the legalization of cannabis. They continue to emphasize the benefits of weed and the unverified nature of claims about its negative effects.

Right now, there are proposals being considered by the parliament, and fingers are crossed that South Africa will soon welcome cannabis use within constitutional grounds.

Sanctions for Marijuana Use in South Africa

Being caught in possession of cannabis exposes you to a risk of being fined or jailed. If the quantity is nominal, then you may be able to get away with a mere fine or warning. However, for large quantities, you can be jailed for up to 25 years.

However, as mentioned, the country is terribly corrupt. If you chance upon the right people under the right circumstances, you may get away with a much lighter sanction or penalty than expected.

If you are a tourist, you may even be luckier because South African authorities are relatively lenient on visitors at present.

Growing Cannabis in South Africa

A large part of the total amount of marijuana grown in South Africa ironically comes from small grows cultivated by poor families in rural areas and not from big plantations. Although cultivating is just as illegal as selling and using, these families are often forced to resort to it for additional income.


The combination of the great quality of land and climate in South Africa makes this area highly ideal for growing marijuana, which explains why rural families get to do it so easily. These small plantations are typically found in such areas as Eastern Cape, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, and Mpumalanga.

Medical Marijuana in South Africa

Right now, even medical cannabis is illegal in South Africa, but promising developments are being reported from parliament. For example, the Medical Innovation Bill was proposed to classify marijuana as a Schedule 6 substance, down from Schedule 7, to give access to potential patients. This proposal is still being deliberated.

The Medicines Control Council (MCC), the agency in charge of the production, distribution, marketing, and sale of drugs in South Africa, issued a statement late 2016. This statement was regarding the Medicines and Related Substances Act.

Acknowledging the potential medicinal benefits of marijuana, this statement indicated a promising step toward legalization. The statement highlighted the presence of evidence pointing toward the successful use of medical weed to treat disorders that established medications cannot remedy.

Meanwhile, a draft guideline has been proposed also by the MCC for certain activities related to medical weed in the country. The said document talks about cultivating, extracting, and testing marijuana and the permits required, among others.

This draft also mentions the so-called Section 21 application, which, when approved, is supposed to grant a medical marijuana patient access to weed. This application is to be filed by the patient to the MCC through their doctor.


Marijuana appears to still have a long way to go in South Africa. Growing, selling, and using weed can get you warned, fined, and/or jailed, depending on the amount of marijuana you are caught in possession of or the mercy of the officer who happens to be handling your case.

The government, as well as certain key industry players, remains opposed to legalization, even of medical cannabis. However, baby steps are being taken, and things are somehow gaining momentum. As you wait for total legalization, you may order and consume your weed with utmost privacy to ensure safety.