By Dandrej Barnard pt 5
“We have the answer!” cry the pro-legalisation side. Legalising cannabis will inject much needed capital into the economy, stimulate further growth in a currently underground industry and provide countless jobs. To some this sounds like the ‘stoners’ are building castles in the sky but there is very strong evidence both locally and internationally to contradict such thinking. As mentioned previously, the amount of cannabis-focused businesses that have sprung up in recent years have grown at an unprecedented rate. Names like Bongalong, Below the Lion, The High Co, Stoner Swag, Abis Inc, Ama Dab and many more are now vying for the attention of those interested in cannabis and the surrounding lifestyle. The figures from countries where cannabis is legal simply cannot be ignored, for they (and possibly their products) are simply too loud to ignore. According to Forbes, legal Cannabis sales in the US in 2016 totalled $6.7 Billion. South Africa obviously has a much lower GPD than America (not that one would think so considering our president’s paycheck), but we would stand to make a proportional amount of legitimate, taxable income.
Things are never as clear cut as they seem to be, especially when we are talking about cannabis or the government. It has recently come to light that the ANC already has their own cannabis growing operation, sanctioned by the government but kept secret in the hills of KZN, near the King Shaka Airport. In the guise of the House of Hemp and under the watchful eye of CEO Tandeka Kunene, the ANC has their very own “High Tech agri development” spanning 16 Hectares. Here Tandeka grows government approved cannabis while others are thrown in jail for doing exactly the same thing. Thus it will benefit the State greatly to keep cannabis illegal so that they can essentially corner the market with their state sanctioned cannabis. Instead of earning the tax money on legitimate, publicly owned, growing operations they can take all the money from their de facto “agri developments”.
With the facts damning at best for the anti-legalisation camp and with the government having a vested interest in the matter, is it any wonder that the Trail of The plant has been stalled for three days, with the State doing its best to prohibit the live streaming of the case. Fortunately the Judge, and everyone else present, clearly saw the state grasping at straws in an attempt to minimise the effects of the trail.
What is the truth? What do we know beyond a reasonable doubt? We know that the majority of the public is pro-legalisation. We know that more and more cannabis lobbyist groups are springing up, hand in hand with consumer centered cannabis businesses. We know that our current approach regarding cannabis laws is not working. We know that not everyone agrees and as always, no matter the outcome, someone stands to profit.
Truth? At the end of the day we must all find our own truth and form our own opinions. At the moment, the government might be standing in the way of you finding your truth. Julian Stobbs says he only really wants one thing “To claim my cognitive thinking, to think the way I think, by using the cannabis plant.”