Flying with cannabis in South Africa is legal but complicated. Here’s all the info you need to know about travelling with weed. From knowing your rights to top tips.
Can I fly with cannabis in South Africa?
The short answer is “yes, but it’s complicated”. Legally adults are allowed to travel with small amounts of cannabis on them. This is per the Constitutional Court ruling that effectively decriminalised personal cultivation and use of the plant. There however remains a lingering haze of confusion as the lack of definitions by the court has created a very grey area. The court did not declare amounts or go into any depth on specifics, leaving local government bodies to write the terms and conditions of legalisation.
So what does this mean about flying with cannabis in South Africa? Ultimately it is at the discretion of the airline. Many people have reported that they successfully declared and flew locally with their small amounts of weed. While others have simply said nothing and concealed their stash.
What do the cops say about it?
A South African Police Service directive issued in 2019 clarified that you can take small amounts of cannabis on domestic flights.
“Provided that the quantity of cannabis is small and based on all the circumstances of a specific matter, including the concealment of the cannabis in a bag or luggage of the passenger, possession for personal consumption, by an adult passenger on a domestic flight, is permitted.”
Travelling with cannabis on international flights is however strictly prohibited.
Tips for flying with cannabis
Airlines have rights too. Just because the cops say it’s cool to fly locally with weed, does not mean that the airline has to. They are private properties and private services that have their own polices. Kulula for example states on their website, “Please note that it is illegal to carry Marijuana in either in your cabin or checked in luggage”
Courier it instead. Consider forwarding your cannabis to your destination by courier. A 420 friendly courier is a popular option for those who don’t want to fly with their weed. Simply send your parcel to in advance so that your stash is delivered when you arrive or the next day.
Don’t mile high. As tempting as it may be to spark a joint or bust a dab during the flight. Please do not. It may cause airlines to remove any cannabis friendly policies that they may be working on. It is also discourteous to the other passengers.
Pack your paraphernalia. Some people travel with as much as large glass bongs and premium vaporizers. You can’t bank on the airline not breaking or losing something. So put the effort into packing them well.