Fields of Green for ALL’s Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled all of the FAQs about Cannabis in South Africa that you have asked via phone, email and social media. We keep this page updated with new details about the world of Dagga as they arise.

stop the cops

There are many questions surrounding arrests and how to safely live as a stoner. Head over to our #StopTheCops page for our seperate FAQ there.

To expunge your criminal record, go here http://www.justice.gov.za/expungements.html
or check if you have one at www.mie.co.za/services/criminal-record-check

You could do any or all of the following: Start by joining the The Green Network as part of Fields of Green for ALL, our non-profit company… You owe it to the plant… You can be actively involved in spreading knowledge and awareness of the harms of the prohibition of Cannabis by donating your skills, knowledge and contacts to our common goal where applicable. Make sure to read this blogpost where Marleen tell’s us how.
Sign up for our newsletter now to keep up to date with the latest developments both locally and internationally. This way you will make a valuable contribution to the progress of the organisation. Please provide your name in field 1 and your email in field 2.

Read our 2020 blogpost on how you can help our cause.

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cannabis can help south africa

In this video the Dagga Couple outline how Dagga Private Clubs work. Also read here and here about how these clubs operate.

Please join the The Green Network to access our unique Cannabis Club model framework. Once logged into the network, you can apply to join the free DPC group where you will find the guiding documents we supply to members.

The recent Cannabis decriminalization ruling in South Africa has created a wave of people and businesses looking to create private clubs for growing, trading and consuming various products. This is very much a grey area that carries significant risk from both law enforcement and criminals alike due to the current lack of formality or regulation in this emerging sector. We have therefore spent the last decade participating in local and international drug policy events in anticipation of the growing pains that South Africa cannabis environment is certain to experience. The trade in cannabis remains illegal, whatever system you set up or try to use. We don’t believe their is a ‘proper Traditional Healer route’. If there was, why don’t we see traditional Healers trading in weed? Our Dagga Private Club initiative is a system of respectful non compliance. Everything is transparent, with up to date books and a constitution. The clubs that have already started operating do so with a simple constitution and a contract between members stipulating club rules. The idea is to make everything as transparent as possible to show your integrity and intentions.

As a dagga enthusiast that often meets with like minded individuals, you want to protect any interaction you have with the plant, so that if anything goes wrong, you have it down in as legal and safe a way as possible. The Dagga Private Club model is the safest way to go about protecting your club/ hub/ NPO.  There’s no recognised legislation/policy/system in place for Private clubs. They are a brave system based on the Privacy Judgement and the highly successful and similar Spanish model that’s been running for over 10 years. We won’t know how tight the clubs are until one ends up in court. It would off course be better to end up in court as part of a well set up private club than to get bust dealing. Private clubs require paperwork (concrete evidence) and are not designed as businessess, but self sustaining non-profits that share the supply chain functions among members and should give back to the community/ health-care system through charity for instance. A private club cannot just be brushed aside by a judge. It has paperwork with a purpose and a message. It spells safety and responsibility while existing in private, but always ready for an audit if it needs to show its merit.

Every instance is different. Nothing is free, but it need not cost an arm and a leg. You will not need a lawyer for the registration of the NPO. You need to start by registering an NPO via CIPC The three documents needed to do this are: Memorandum of Association, Articles of Association and Memorandum of Incorporation.It is run as a non profit, relying on donations and fees from members. It’s an adaptable model so it is perfectly within reach for small upstarts. 

In August 2020 the High Court ruled that:

  • Children cannot be incarcerated for trivial offences such as smoking dagga.
  • Court-ordered audits found children treated more severely than adults in identical circumstances.
  • A section of the Drug Trafficking Act was found to be unconstitutional.
  • The court found school drug tests were being conducted unlawfully. Regarding drug testing at schools, the South African Schools Act made it abundantly clear that the principal must have reasonable suspicion to test, no criminal proceedings may be instituted, the results must remain confidential, and it only authorised disciplinary proceedings.- via Groundup.org

When we listened to Judge Zondo’s now famous Constitutional Court judgement in September 2018, we knew there were a lot of grey areas and unanswered questions. We also knew that for any part of the judgement to be fully understood and any ambiguity to be ironed out, it would have to be in a High Court. Some glaring social problems have become apparent. One such problem is drug testing, whether in the workplace or worse, in school. Now, it wouldn’t take long for you to find out our opinion on drug testing online somewhere. To us, it is one of the most insidious practices of prohibition, is completely unconstitutional, a breach of a person’s bodily sovereignty, and someone somewhere is coining it at the expense of others. Some people actually believe the threat of drug testing is a deterrent, but we’d beg to differ.

A lot.

Read our blogpost on the subject: https://fieldsofgreenforall.org.za/school-drug-test-punishment-reversed/

When being tested for drugs (urine test, for example) many believe (incorrectly) that the urine is being tested for THC. So, you can’t test for THC that way. THC must be metabolized through the liver, and what is left thereafter is a completely inert chemical called THC-COOH. As it has already been metabolized (used), this chemical really just indicates use of that substance (THC) within a prescribed cut off period. The test cuts off at a certain point and can only really test for levels over 50ng/ml, which means that you could test positive for up to 90 days after last use (taking certain factors into account).

Cannabis testingMake sure to read our blog on the subject.

9 times out of 10, company policies are outdated or simply discriminatory. Is there even a drug/ Dagga clause in your work contract? You can take them to the CCMA!

There was a benchmark case where the Daily Maverick reported that: “…recently the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) upheld the dismissal of several employees who tested positive for cannabis. I believe the CCMA got it wrong, primarily because it did not understand how cannabis testing works and what is being tested” – https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2019-05-16-cannabis-testing-in-the-workplace-the-ccma-got-it-wrong/

Regardless of this, the CCMA has a history of standing by employees, so they are still seen as a possible aid in Cannabis related workplace issues, as the problem usually lies with the employer’s prejudice or dislike of the employee or lack of Cannabis knowledge rather than an outright policy breach (if it exists on paper), so lack of proper Cannabis regulation in South Africa is used as an excuse to manipulate or get rid of employees. As always it is most important that you MUST Know Your Rights as a Dagga user.

Despite what you may have heard there are currently only pharmaceutical Cannabis licenses, and no permits or cards being issued in South Africa.  The recent Constitutional Court privacy ruling has gone a long way to allow the growing of the plant for personal use, in a private space by consenting adults. The ruling however does not permit the trade or retail of any form of the plant for any reason. It is not even proper decriminalisation, so we have a long way to go.

We do NOT support licensing as a way forward. The reasons for this is made very clear in various articles and blogposts that we have published on the subject. We have made a clear explanation about the licence situation here and here. There is also a well written article on South Africa’s fake Cannabis licences by The High Co. Licences will lead to corruption and confusion (as we have seen recently in several countries such as Botswana that tried to implement licence systems) and will not enable all South Africans a fair share in a legal future. Please FIRST support legalisation by joining our Green Network.

A significant part of the work that we are doing in the courts and at a grassroots level is to help fully legalise Cannabis FOR ALL in a way that eliminates or greatly reduces the need for licensing. Regulation will however still need to apply when considering the many existing industries in which Cannabis will be used. Please visit our Desired Outcomes page to have your say regarding what you think legalisation should look like. Please DO NOT phone or write to us to ask how you can obtain a licence. It is NOT the way forward towards Fields Of Green For All. 

Cannabidiol (CBD) is listed as a Schedule 4 substance. Exemption that existed for certain products expired in May 2020. Read more on our blog here and also this article by the Traditional and Natural Health Alliance. The latest developments are explained by Schindlers attorneys as well as on episode 134 of the Hotboxshow.

We have an affiliate that does testing. Head over to Qure Analytics. They offer testing of anything cannabis-related, from simple potency, cannabinoid and terpene profiling to residual solvents and microbials.

• Gas Chromatograph
• Near-infrared Spectrometer
• Compact dry microbial testing plates

How much do you need? How much do you actually need? What is enough? We explained everything here.

The confusing answer is yes and no. It is legal to possess cannabis, including seeds, for personal adult use. It is also legal to grow your own cannabis. Although the amounts that constitute personal use are yet to be defined. And all trade of any part of the plant remains strictly prohibited. This has resulted in an awkward grey area to kind of solve the problem of legally growing your own plant with legal’ish seeds. Regarding hemp seed you could contact hemptons.co.za, synerchiorganics.com, or Hempoint in the Czech Republic.

Here are some helpful links.

Buy Cannabis Seeds in South Africa
and Autoflower vs Feminized vs Regular Cannabis – What’s the difference?, 

also Are Cannabis Seeds Legal In South Africa

 

10Industrial Cannabis (aka Hemp) is as illegal as recreational Cannabis. This is due to the fact that it is the same plant that is selectively bred for certain specific traits (oil, fibre). South Africa’s Cannabis laws do not distinguish between Cannabis (Dagga) or Cannabis (Hemp) used for industrial purposes (food, fuel, fibre, etc). There have been trials conducted on the viability of Industrial Cannabis in South Africa but, despite these trials and the overwhelming success of ‘hemp’ as a cash crop in countries like China, Canada and France, nobody has campaigned for industrial uses of the plant to be made legal in South Africa.

We have a grow section on our weekly #Hotboxshow. It is called Growing With My Buds. There are also many resources available online that can provide you with all of the information you require. Google is your friend.

People start using cannabis for a number of reasons. Mostly, people start using cannabis as an act of rebellion or anti establishment, or as a way to irritate their parents. Most teens experiment with cannabis but we believe the majority of people who start using cannabis, stop using cannabis as a rational decision. It is unusual for adults to continue their cannabis use. This is mostly dictated by spouse, family, parenting commitments. We would say the overriding reason the vast majority of human respond well to cannabis is it keeps them in balance. We believe all use of cannabis is therapeutic, whether it was prescribed by a doctor or bought at the taxi rank. Stress, blood pressure, calm, anxiety, the list goes on as to how and why people use cannabis.
This link may be of interest to you as further reading with references:
https://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/visions/cannabis-vol5/why-people-use-cannabis

If is difficult to quantify the size of the unregulated market for cannabis in SA, but all the transactions are there. It has been there for hundreds of years. The network of growers, buyers and sellers is really complex and has survived 100 years of prohibition. Since the 2018 ConCourt judgement, a lot more South Africans are now growing their own supply. This was a really important first step in reducing the unregulated market. Less people are leaving the house to go and ‘score’ from their ‘man’.
There is a perception that somehow dagga ‘dealers’ are ruthless gangsters who make tons of money. The reality is, kasinomics accounts for most of the dagga transactions. We believe most ‘dealers’ still live with their mothers and are just making ends meet and maybe a bit extra to take the edge off life. Cannabis use permeates absolutely every strata of South Africa’s population. They all get their weed from someone within their circle who knows someone who knows someone.

This is an important question. Different methods of consuming have different results. The effects of smoking happen almost immediately. Eating cannabis infused products have a delayed reaction and the effects last longer. For someone who cannot sleep because of pain, a self medication of dagga cookies will bring on a deep sleep. For someone with an auto immune disorder like lupus or crohns, smoking is the only way to control the symptoms. There is also an increase in the use of e-pens or vapes with cannabis oil inside. These are primarily used for stealth reasons. They can be used anywhere smoking is allowed without detection. Most long time cannabis users consume cannabis in a variety of ways depending on circumstances and their intentions.
Again, here is some further reading:
https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/the-complete-list-of-cannabis-delivery-methods

It is difficult to talk about the perceived dangers or harms of cannabis when over 6000 South Africans died from paracetamol poisoning last year. Cannabis has never been attributed to a single cause of death and is impossible to ingest an overdose amount. Long term heavy smoking of any substance is bound to be detrimental to the respitrary system over time. We never refer to the plant as harmless. Nothing is harmless. There is a time and a place for cannabis and when used responsibly it can certainly enhance your life. When someone mentions medical marijuana we say ‘don’t wait until you are sick’. People have been lead to believe cannabis could be the cure for some ailments. We prefer to think of it as a medicine to prevent major ailments. Long term cannabis users are generally very healthy people.
The only real danger of cannabis use is when the police get involved. This is when harm is done from cannabis. There is an argument that suggests cannabis use before age 21 can be detrimental to the developing brain, but we still have to be convinced by such claims.
https://www.healtheuropa.eu/health-benefits-of-cannabis/92499/

If that were the case, then where are all these problematic cannabis users, either teens or adult? There are millions and miIlions of dagga users in SA. Why aren’t the clinics full of habitual cannabis users? It costs R3.5 billion annually to police cannabis prohibition. If that money were directed into health services to deal with any problematic users, then the answer would be no. There is no burden to the health system for the country’s cannabis use. Like we said, dagga users are generally healthy living people.

We wouldn’t say cannabis is physically addictive. There is nothing within cannabis that makes someone crave more cannabis. As best we could call it habitual, and we all have habits. Tobacco, chocolate, coffee, cheeseburgers to name but a few. The people who begin to use too much cannabis at the wrong time in the wrong place need assistance with their lives, not their dagga habit. Substance use disorders are complex and rarely have anything to do with the substance.
https://www.leafly.com/news/health/is-cannabis-addictive

1

There isn’t anything in dagga that triggers someones brain to get a more powerful high from something else. If dagga was the start of a persons drug use, was tobacco or alcohol before that – two substances very easily obtained in most homes?
Put it another way, IF dagga were some sort of gateway to a life of drugs, is it productive to society to criminalise someone for doing such a thing? We believe cannabis is the exit drug, not the gateway. An exit from alcohol cravings, prescription pain killers, tik and other problematic substance use.
https://filtermag.org/sure-cannabis-is-a-gateway-drug-towards-less-drug-use/

This urban legend is as old as the hills. Cannabis has been repeatedly and conclusively proven to be neither a cause of people developing an appetite for other intoxicants, nor does it cause a pursuit of getting endlessly “high”. There is some truth to the myth though thanks to prohibition.

The trade of Cannabis is strictly illegal and therefore creates a black market trade where Cannabis is available on the same shelf as heroin and tik at the local drug dealer.  Prohibition, ironically, causes exposure to harder drugs and is in itself the “Gateway” to what could be a slippery slope. Fields of Green for ALL recognizes that we therefore need to reduce the exposure to hard drugs that Cannabis prohibition creates and are therefore pursuing a legal status in South Africa that will regulate access to Cannabis in order to minimize the exposure of users to addictive substances.

There is no conclusive evidence that dagga makes you infertile. In fact, Cannabis users report having more and better sex as the plant is a natural aphrodisiac. Here is an article by Leafly.

We believe the responsible use of cannabis is a useful tool during pregnancy. Muscle pain, sleeplessness and appetite are all treated with cannabis. The longest study ever on pregnancy and cannabis in the 1990’s found nothing detrimental about cannabis use for either the mother or the foetus. In fact, moderate cannabis use can help relax and reduce discomfort. In fact, the same active ingredients in cannabis can also be found naturally in breast milk! The Rastafari community use cannabis during pregnancy for ever and their children suffer no ill effect since forever.
https://undark.org/2019/08/28/jamaica-study-cannabis-researchers-pregnancy/

and most recently the following global research concludes that the current evidence does not suggest that prenatal cannabis exposure alone is associated with clinically significant cognitive functioning impairments. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00816/full

Regarding children: healthy regulations should discourage the underage use of psychoactive substances, except when medicinal.

Cannabis cannot be regulated like alcohol. Cannabis is nothing like alcohol. Cannabis has medical properties, alcohol does not. Cannabis is non toxic, alcohol is a proven killer. We agree there should be an age restriction of 18 years for both products. We are working towards a unique ministry of cannabis to deal with all cannabis affairs. Finally, it is important that cannabis isn’t regulated any more strictly than alcohol, as it is a safer product for both the individual and society.
https://www.vox.com/2015/2/24/8094759/alcohol-marijuana

Gifting is another grey area left by the September 2018 privacy judgment. The judgment seems to imply sharing/gifting (or how else would one get, for example, seeds if one didn’t have prior to Judgment?), but some cops and prosecutors may still be of the opinion that it’s dealing. Is a gift not for personal use though? It’s not like you need a liquor license to gift or receive a bottle of wine, or be accused of illicit dealing.

Trading in dagga is still illegal. It remains a risk, so before you post dagga, it is best that you know your rights.

According to Section 10.1 of the South African police services directive 1/1/4/1 signed  by KJ Sitole the National Commissioner of the South African Police services on 22 January 2019 the following applies –
10.1 Passengers flying on a commercial airliner with small amounts of cannabis:

Provided that the quantity of cannabis is small and based on all the circumstances of a specific matter, including the concealment of the cannabis in a bag or luggage of a passenger, possession for personal consumption, by an adult passenger on a domestic flight is permitted.

Following the Western Cape High Court Judgement handed down in March 2017 and the Constitutional Court validation of that ruling in September 2018, Cannabis has been decriminalised in South Africa. This is however not the same as legalisation, as the trade and sale of the plant remains illegal.

The Constitutional Court has given the SA Government and Parliament 2 years from their verdict to formalise the various ambiguities  that were not addressed in the ruling. This means that the rules and regulations are not yet defined, and that now more than ever we need to focus on achieving true and practical legalisation that is accessible and beneficial to all South Africans.

2A hot topic if ever there was one, this is often the greatest concern raised by opponents of Cannabis legalisation. There have been numerous studies regarding the potential mental health effects of Cannabis use and although the majority conclude in positive outcomes, these have been vastly brushed over to focus the discussion on this emotive and contentious point. What all of the studies come down to, even the direst ones, is that Cannabis does not cause mental illness in users. Only 1 in 4000  people who consume Cannabis may experience an adverse reaction, yet South Africa’s current social development standing makes little room to distinguish or separate the 3999 users from the 1 victim who truly deserves not to be caught up in a legal system that indiscriminately criminalises the vast majority of users. Fields of Green for ALL supports the need to stop stigmatising responsible users and victims of Cannabis alike, and intends to see this treated as a health issue by redirecting resources away from a counter-productive policy of prohibition and instead toward a policy of constructive harm reduction without stigmatisation.

3No, Cannabis is not physically addictive. Yes, the effects are pleasurable. Cannabis is consumed mostly for its relaxing effects either privately or socially, which makes it popular amongst young and old alike who may wish to repeat the experience. As with just about everything in life, a small percentage of people may develop a habit that becomes a regular part of their lives. Cannabis is no different yet it is growing increasingly popular culturally and for its relative low risks particularly when compared to legally available substances which carry significantly higher health risks or addiction potential. An emerging trend has seen Cannabis now being favoured over alcohol in some parts of the world due to it being a healthier intoxicant option, with an increasingly refined commercial industry oozing with quality controlled products that creatively minimize the already low physical health risk of consuming Cannabis to virtually none. Fields of Green for ALL supports the need to stop stigmatising the very few people who are unable to manage their Cannabis use by treating the issue as a health matter instead of a criminal one that indiscriminately persecutes all Cannabis users.

4Our organisation does not answer this question and neither do any of our affiliates.

Please help to change this by supporting our movement by joining The Green Network or making a donation and signing the legalisation petition.

Medical Marijuana - Cannabis Leaf and StethoscopeAll uses of Cannabis are illegal and we cannot answer this question due to the sensitive nature of our organisation.

The law does not see dagga as a medicine yet. Anybody can make medicine from dagga, but
the police still pull out any plants they find and arrests anybody they
find with equipment to produce the medicine.

We have a long way to go before somebody that wants to use cannabis medicine can get easy, safe and affordable access to that medicine. At the moment you need to most likely break the law unless you can grow and produce your own medicine without getting caught by the police. It’s a bad situation and we are fighting to change that. Why don’t you help us by joining our Green Network?

Medical Marijuana - Cannabis Leaf and StethoscopeOur Green Network provides opportunities for health practitioners to connect and share their experiences regarding medicinal Cannabis.

We also provide an opportunity for our members to gain access to health practitioners who do not stigmatise Cannabis.

While there is no law to regulate dagga, and never a reason to arrest someone with the plant, the police are abusing this by targeting anybody they find with dagga. Focus has shifted towards craft growers, who are the pivot point of our future industry. It is from craft growers that innovation and community participation will grow. By arresting this demographic the state are bruising the young industry where it hurts most. We need written law, policy and regulations to protect those that take up the craft of growing cannabis and enable them to do so with transparency and freedom without fear and uncertainty. Join The Green Network to help us change the law and get written words on paper (law and regulations) to protect the South African Cannabis industry. We repeat: There is no reason to arrest anyone for Cannabis! Please see our #StopTheCops project.

If the above info did not answer your question, please let us know here.

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