The Trial of the Plant – South Africa’s Dagga Couple Taking the State to Court to End Cannabis Prohibition

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While the global cannabis community is captivated by events in the US and Canada, activists in South Africa are making huge progress to expose the nonsense of cannabis prohibition.

The Western Cape High Court has ruled earlier this year that cannabis prohibition was violating the South African Constitution. The High Court ruled that adult citizens have the right to grow, process and use cannabis for personal use in the privacy of their own home.

All 3 judges came to the same conclusion and they instructed the South African government to amend the laws accordingly within 24 months.

How is that for a legal blow to the failed cannabis prohibition?

The government is expected to appeal and drag its feet along, here is a snippet from the government’s official response:

“Parliament is in the process of obtaining the judgment to study exactly what it says.

If the two laws mentioned have been found to be unconstitutional, then the Constitutional Court would have to confirm the judgment before Parliament can act. The state could also appeal the judgment.”

So the government has a few more cards to play, but so as the South African activists. They have more legal challenges happening right now that may as well result in imminent legalization.

There is another court case going through the South African justice system, by an activist couple, Myrtle Clarke, and Jules Stobbs.

The couple is often referred to as the ‘Dagga couple’ after the local South African name of cannabis – Dagga.

The couple was raided and subsequently arrested by South African Police Service in 2010 in Lanseria.

The police found the pair’s cannabis supply adding up to over 115 grams, resulting in a cannabis dealing charge.

They decided not to go down easily and set up a fundraising page to bring in international experts to prove that cannabis is not the demon that the outdated propaganda made it out to be.

The couple is aiming to end up at the Constitutional Court of South Africa and currently proceeding through the Pretoria High Court challenging cannabis prohibition on the basis of citizens’ constitutional right to dignity.

The South African Government lined up seven ministers to defend cannabis prohibition.

Considering the unjust racial basis and the nonsense that banning cannabis is based on, it will be a hell of a job.

They have help from Bertha Madras, the anti-cannabis Harvard Medical School Professor who argues that cannabis can be linked to psychosis or schizophrenia.

She also argues that cannabis increases the risk of car accidents, although the first study based on real data from legal states has just come out in the US proving this exact myth wrong.

Anti cannabis interest groups have been associated with providing financial benefits to academics in exchange of anti cannabis ‘expert opinions’ and will be fascinating to see how they stack up in court.

The Dagga couple has their own real expert panel with Donald Abrams‚ the Chief of Haematology and Oncology at San Francisco General Hospital and also Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California San Francisco.

John Maddox Prize winner Professor David Nutt‚ the Edmond J Safra Chair in Neuropsychopharmacology at London’s Imperial College‚ author of over 400 scientific papers is another highly respected high profile expert the couple scored to testify.

This court case gets a fair a bit of publicity and provides an opportunity for the world to see that cannabis prohibition is making significant damage to our society and economy and can stand no scientific or moral argument.

The unjust and racially discriminative nature of cannabis prohibition is currently on full display in South Africa and it is also tipping over in other parts of the world.

Recently in a similar action, a lawsuit was filed against US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice for cannabis prohibition being unconstitutional.

Also in the US, New Jersey Senator, Cory Booker has introduced the Marijuana Justice Act to end cannabis prohibition and heal the communities most affected by it.

It looks like the tipping point has been passed and the unjust cannabis prohibition cannot be forced on society any longer.

Watch the Dagga couple sharing their story at Ted x Cape Town:

Krisztian Panczel

Krisztian Panczel

I am stoked to be able to write for as I’ve been passionate about the Cannabis plant in its every form since I was 14 years old. I have a bachelor degree of Agricultural Science and have studied plant production for 8 years. Meanwhile, I learned so much about plants that it was hard to miss the outstanding (quite incredible) qualities of this hugely versatile plant. After university I went on to build a career and recently I had the opportunity to return to this most passionate area of my life and have been writing about a wide variety of topics on Cannabis and Hemp.

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