Daniel Friedman
3 minute read
26 Sep 2018
1:34 pm

Despite dagga ruling, police have ‘sweeping powers’, say activists

Daniel Friedman

The Dagga Couple worries about the amount of power the police still have when it comes to deciding what to do with those accused of making money from the plant.

The so-called dagga couple, Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke are seen arriving outside the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria while anti dagga protestors protest in the background, 1 August 2017, the couple want marijuana to be legalised in South Africa the couple says the criminal prohibition of cannabis is irrational and wasteful, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

South Africa’s Dagga Couple have warned South Africans that while an SAPS national directive has been issued that clearly explains to police that use and cultivation of cannabis at home is now legal, our law enforcers still have “sweeping powers” when it comes to any suspected “transporting, shipping, exporting, trading, prescribing, or otherwise making money from your weed”.

The couple, Jules Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke, have been legally involved in the fight for an end to cannabis prohibition in South Africa. They signed on as intervening parties to the case brought by Rastafarian lawyer and activist Gareth Prince and The Dagga Party’s Jeremy Acton that culminated in the recent unanimous Constitutional Court ruling that it be legal for adults to consume the plant in private.

They are also involved in a separate case dubbed The Trial of the Plant at the High Court in Pretoria that seeks to overturn all existing SA laws relating to cannabis.

The couple’s reservations about the amount of power the police still have when it comes to deciding what to do with those accused of making money from the plant are included in a post that is largely optimistic about SA policy on cannabis following the Con Court ruling.

READ MORE: Dagga partly decriminalised at Constitutional Court

The post on the couple’s website explains that they do feel the recent judgement has led to progress. “There’s good news and bad news, but overall – it’s an extraordinary time to be alive,” they said on Facebook.

While police can arrest those they suspect of trying to make money from dagga “based on individual circumstances”, in cases where only dagga is involved and there are no other drugs, guns, or crimes involved, they now can no longer detain suspects, who will instead of being held in detention now be summoned to a court hearing at a later date.

According to the blog post: “This is groundbreaking stuff which will (hopefully) convince the cops to walk away and now focus on the people who hurt other people in our society.”

The couple also believes the ruling was among the most progressive in the world.

READ MORE: Dagga announcement sets Twitter ablaze

“Last week’s Con Court ruling was lightyears ahead of any North American, Canadian or European legalisation rulings, solidly putting the right to grow and use in the hands of every SA adult citizen who wishes to.

“No license, no permission, and no paranoia. In fact, we also wager that after the honeymoon period is over and the sensationalising has stopped, use trends will be the same as other legalised countries or states. Juvenile use will drop, use by seniors will rise.”

They say that this is because decriminalisation of the plant makes it “less fun” as using it is not seen as rebellious anymore.

“Now that dagga has been decriminalised, a major forbidden fruit has been systematically taken out of the picture. For lots of adolescents (and adults alike), it just won’t be fun anymore,” says the post.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.