After a long legal battle led by various dagga advocacy groups, the Constitutional Court decriminalised the use and cultivation of cannabis in a private space last year. Since this ruling, law enforcement agencies and employers have been seeking new and more accurate ways of testing dagga use – similar to a breathalyser at a roadblock.
Most recently, there have been reports of a saliva test which could change the way employers and police enforce cannabis laws. A quick-result saliva test for dagga could tell employers if you’re stoned at work or a traffic officer if you’re driving while high.
The technology is not fully ready yet but the South African government is keen to put it to the test once ready.
Ntomboxolo Makoba-Somdaka, spokesperson to MEC of Transport and Public Works Bonginkosi Madikizela, said: “The department has heard about this technology and we understand it’s still in its development phase. The technology has not been finalised. We are however monitoring the space, and when settled, we’ll look at getting it approved in South Africa
However, Dagga advocacy groups said the proposed test was a pipe dream. Jules Stobbs of the “Dagga Couple” who fought for the legalisation of dagga use, said the new test wouldn’t work.
“A saliva test is still a pipe dream for authorities worldwide. There’s still no effective way of proving cannabis impairment and serious government money is being spent globally to develop the weed test holy grail. It’s just another way governments are intent on keeping cannabis users criminalised,” Stobbs said.
Jeremy Acton of the Dagga Party vowed to fight the implementation of the test.