The April ruling of the Western Cape High Court “legalising” the use of marijuana was verywelcome in many circles of South African society, from the religious to the medical use to the private home user. Basically what it says is that you may grow your own, and consume it within the confines of your own home.
However, before you start experimenting with horticulture and testing your green thumbs, rolling a zol and having a lekker party to celebrate, consider the fact that according to the Civil Aviation Regulations, it is still illegal to use marijuana.
There are many good reasons NOT to use it, including the risk of heart attack and arrhythmia, lung cancer if you smoke the stuff, and last but not least, cannabis-induced psychosis or schizophrenia.
The CAA reserves the right to test crew members after an incident or accident, or if there is reasonable suspicion that a crew member is a “problematic substance” user. “Reasonable
suspicion” arises if someone reports you, or if your actions arouse suspicion that you are under the influence of a substance. And if you are tested and found positive (non-negative in legal terms), it will have enormous consequences on your licence. Grounding, rehab, signing declarations, and permanent licence revocation if found to be in contravention a second time. Is it worth it?
The primary psychoactive constituent of marijuana, THC, may be stored in body fats for more than 28 days. And it may, in some cases, remain in the urine for up to 11 weeks after use. According to pathologists, detection of cannabis is possible up to 14 days after use for non-regular users, and up to 30 days for regular users.
The CAA medical department and legal department, in conjunction with the Aeromedical Committee, are looking into this issue, now that dagga has become “legal”, but in the interim, until the CATS and CARs change, nothing has changed with regards to flying and drug taking.
So put down your doobie, your cookie or your dagga tea, and wait and see if any changes will be effected. Your licence and livelihood rely on good sense.