If you don’t want your employment, academic or student career to go up in smoke, take note of the NWU’s stance on the use and possession of dagga (cannabis).

 is a no-no at the NWU



Adv Thabo Pheto is a staff member at Legal Services.



Des Ayob, director of Protection Services, says staff members and students are not allowed to use, buy, sell or distribute dagga while on an NWU campus or university-controlled premises, as these are public spaces.


Lesley Barends from Facilities is one of the staff members involved in drafting the NWU’s stance on dagga.


Last year’s Constitutional Court judgment on cannabis may have sounded to some like a free pass to all things dagga, but this is not the case.


According to this judgment* persons over the age of 18 are allowed to use, possess and cultivate dagga in private and for their personal use.


However, dealing in dagga is still illegal and the police recently issued a stern warning through the media that they will act against those who make themselves guilty of it.


Private versus public


Des Ayob, director of NWU Protection Services, says the key to understanding the implications of the judgment at the university is to remember that the NWU’s three campuses are public spaces.


“Just as the judgment prohibits the smoking of dagga in public or the purchasing, selling or dealing in it, the same is prohibited on all our campuses.


“No staff member or student may use, buy, sell or distribute dagga while on an NWU campus or university-controlled premises or even while at a university-related function or activity,” says Des. “This includes places where staff and students are seen or identified as part of the NWU.”


Facilities' Leslie Barends, one of the staff instrumental in drafting the NWU’s stance on dagga, says this also extends to university residences.


Ignorance is not bliss


“It is the duty of every staff member and student to make sure that they know all the rules and regulations of the university. That is why no one will be able to plead ignorance as an excuse,” says Adv Thabo Pheto of the Legal Services department.


Des says not adhering to the policy may lead to staff and students being charged with misconduct. “Such students will be dealt with in accordance with the university’s student disciplinary rules and staff will be dealt with in accordance with the university’s behavioural policy.”


This means anyone with a liking for dagga should think twice before they light a spliff at the NWU.


But what about other forms of smoking such as cigarette smoking, vaping and hubbly bubbly, which are not illegal?


Des says it is important to take note of the NWU’s smoking policy, which prohibits smoking within 10 metres of any building and only allows smoking in designated areas.


Click here for more information on the NWU’s policy on smoking.


*Parliament has a 24-month opportunity to correct constitutional defects in the legislation which criminalised aspects of dagga cultivation and consumption.