Crisis Point 4 – Licences and the Dagga Dompas
In the same way that licences drive a deep wedge in our already disproportionately privileged society, the medical Cannabis card, or Dagga Dompas relies on the idea that you need permission to use dagga as medicine, and a card to protect you from corrupt police. This prohibitionist system is not evidence based and still enforces Dagga apartheid onto what is a safe healing plant.
The compromise required from the authorities (government and law enforcement) is to let go and allow a reasonable degree of self-regulation in the fledgling legal Cannabis industry in South Africa. The existing, largely unregulated Cannabis industry is ready and willing to compromise its complete autonomy under prohibition for a regulated industry that allows for best practice and customer safety without undue barriers to entry.
“We are good at what we do and we will continue as before if you overregulate us or create regulations that only suit the rich. Good people disobey bad laws.” – Anonymous Underground Dagga Trader.
The process of licensing producers and traders of Cannabis (outside of a registered medicine) is not appropriate in South Africa because cultivation, production and trade has many facets within the existing Cannabis industry. A system of business registration (where applicable) and affiliation to a hub must be open to any willing market participant. Business registration serves the requirements of legal regulation and can fit into existing regulatory protocols. Registration criteria specific to the Cannabis industry must be developed and enforced through the office of the Cannabis OmBUDsman in conjunction with the Hubs.
Affiliation to Hubs can serve as de facto licences for those who do not have business registration. This is a simple and accessible way for all South Africans – including thousands of previously disadvantaged citizens – to have real opportunities to enter the formal economy. The combination of registered businesses and Kasinomics operators within a single Hub will also contribute to broadening the knowledge base of those previously disadvantaged.
Licensing of non-medical cultivators, manufacturers and traders is wide open to corruption. A licensing system is regarded as a fait accompli by many South Africans. The many grey areas, rumours in the media of licences and permits being handed out, and the nefarious nature of criminal activity related to “drugs” ALL point to the inevitable failure of this top-down approach.