Dandrej Barnard 2017

Part 1 

The battle to legalise cannabis in South Africa has seen a massive upswing in public interest in the last few months. Some seem to thinks that cannabis has already been legalised and that the ‘struggle’ was a brief affair. Unfortunately those individuals cannot be further from the truth. The confusion stems from a Western Cape High Court ruling in May that stated that it is unconstitutional to prohibit someone from smoking and cultivating cannabis in their home. This was in fact a step in the right direction on a very long road.

At the moment the Dagga Couple are in the Pretoria High Court until 19 August, the plaintiffs in a special constitutional hearing where they are taking 7 government agencies and an American organisation called Doctors for Life (who requested to be a part of the trial) to court to defend the current laws on cannabis. Dubbed ‘The Trail of The Plant’, the Dagga Couple have several local and international witnesses from the scientific community who will testify on the medicinal use of cannabis, responsible adult use, industrial and religious use.

We have all heard about the dagga couple, but few have taken the time to find out the pertinent details. Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke never set out to be activists, in fact, they had absolutely no interest in fighting for the legalisation of cannabis. This is, of course, until their home was raided in 2010 by members of the SAPS. When a group of Police Officers forcibly entered a quiet plot in Lanseria Gauteng they found a middle aged couple in their pajamas and their grove of cannabis plants. After a 5 hour ordeal, as policemen ransacked their home, they were detained and charged with possession of cannabis with the intention to distribute (something comparable to what a TIK dealer might face if caught). It is after this that they decided to fight back instead of just accepting the prosecution for something they feel they have every right to use.“Everybody thinks the State banned cannabis to save us from ourselves; it couldn’t be further from the truth”. These are the words of Julian Stobbs, but in the words of Nietzsche: “What, then, is the truth?”