A Full Spectrum Manifesto for Policy Reform

By |Published On: August 17th, 2020|

Since 18 September 2018, every citizen has the right to grow and consume Cannabis in a private space. In a unanimous decision effectively “decriminalising” Cannabis in South Africa, the Constitutional Court ordered parliament to rewrite the laws pertaining to the personal use and cultivation of Cannabis within private spaces. To date, even with the recently proposed Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill, trade (or “dealing” as the prohibitionists call it) remains illegal in South Africa.

Over the many years, with extensive input from Cannabis experts locally and globally, we have created a created a policy manifesto document that outlines how South Africa can create a unique Cannabis industry that is broad based and accessible. The purpose of this document which is called the “Full Spectrum Manifesto for Legal Regulation” is to provide a framework for Cannabis regulations that benefits all South Africans.

As part of our GoFundMe campaign, Remembering Jules – Cannabis Can Help South Africa, a portion of the funds will go towards final edits of our manifesto document. We will also need to print hardcopies, to distribute in remote areas where internet is not available or where data is unaffordable. We will use our manifesto, together with the findings from the South African Cannabis Survey, as part of our evidence in the Trial of the Plant 2.0.

Our experience being at the forefront of Cannabis legalisation in South Africa as well as working with fellow civil activists across the world, has meant we are able to provide unique insight into how Cannabis should be regulated. Our Full Spectrum Model aims to address concerns of corruption or “Cannabis Capture”, as well as taking into account our country’s long standing history with Cannabis prohibition. However Cannabis law reform in South Africa cannot happen in a vacuum, so this creates a need to look into other countries’ drug policies. Fields of Green for ALL has been involved on the international stage at several levels to acquire a balanced perspective on drug policies. In order to prevent repeating the mistakes of other countries, we need to look beyond our borders to help create contextually relevant Cannabis laws that reflect the unique social issues our country faces.

The de facto solution to creating structures to allow for trade in Cannabis has revolved around government issued licenses, as seen across most, if not all legal Cannabis jurisdictions globally. An expensive and bureaucratic laden licensing system is a recipe for disastrous Cannabis policy in South Africa. We fully acknowledge that regulation of trade is essential but our opposition to licenses is born out of experience of the exclusionary nature of this system in other parts of this world, and the very real threat of corruption here in South Africa. In order to create a legal Cannabis industry with low barriers to entry, our manifesto highlights two important models that we believe are core to achieving this: Hubs and Dagga Private Clubs (DPCs).

Hubs are farming cooperatives where small scale farmers are able to send their cultivated Cannabis to a nearby central hub where it will be further processed, tested, packaged and then distributed to market. Hubs benefit farmers by allowing them access to resources that they would not have been able to as an individual in a traditional “licensing” system. Dagga Private Clubs (DPCs) are registered non-profit companies formed by consenting adults who use Cannabis in a private space. A DPC grows and provides Cannabis to a closed network of members, where the members themselves can grow and contribute to their club. The formalization of DPCs began on 20 April 2019 with the launch of the South African Dagga Private Club Initiative led by Fields of Green for ALL, and today there are many DPCs operating all over South Africa, possibly in your neighbourhood, without you even knowing of their existence.

Both the Hub and DPC model need to be acknowledged and included in upcoming Cannabis laws, as they will be important in creating a successful cannabis economy, driven by hundreds of thousands of small-scale “Kasinomic” growers. Kasinomic growers are small-scale farmers whose Cannabis products would typically be used privately by the grower or their community, or sold in generally small quantities as a source of essential income. This existing informal market is a major factor that sets South Africa apart from other countries that have moved towards regulating Cannabis. As well as reductions in criminality and corruption, there is large potential for increases in income and economic opportunities for many marginalised populations, if regulations are adapted to their situation.

The current potential for the legalisation of Cannabis in South Africa has been brought about through active citizenry on the part of Cannabis users, cultivators & traders of all genders, ages and races nationwide. Participation from stakeholders is crucial to ensure that however the final Cannabis Bill is implemented, it will be contextually relevant to reflect the issues that South Africa and its citizens are facing. Fields of Green for ALL is at the forefront of this conversation and have been tirelessly working towards creating a Cannabis industry that is inclusive, sustainable and human rights-based.

We look forward to input and commentary on our Full Spectrum Manifesto for Legal Regulation, as well as what the rest of our Cannabis legalisation journey entails.

Full Spectrum Manifesto for Policy Reform

Thank you to our FGA Affiliates who help to make our ongoing content creation possible!

Thank you to our FGA Affiliates who help to make our ongoing content creation possible!


About the Author: Suresh Patel

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