Community Development: The plight of the DPC

By |Published On: November 27th, 2020|
Cannabis Can Help South Africa

Dagga Private Clubs are based on the combination of community, privacy and Cannabis. Because the community makes up the Club, it’s important for the Club to engage in community development. This way, Clubs can become hubs of knowledgeable, informed and empowered Cannabis consumers, a real threat to the supposed authority of the ignorant SAPS.

Internal Community Development

The greatest danger involved with being a Cannabis consumer is the inevitable clash with the police. There are many horror stories of individuals sitting with a criminal record, because they had Cannabis in their car (post the ConCourt’s privacy ruling). They didn’t know that this is actually allowed – neither did the policeman who arrested them for it. Had they not signed the admission of guilt, they’d have sat with an uncomfortable night or two in prison, followed by a dismissed case in court. Instead, they didn’t know and now they sit with a criminal record.

As the body that draws this community together, the DPC has an obligation to educate their members on various topics as it relates to Cannabis. The first of these topics are their rights as it relates to the cultivation, possession and consumption of Cannabis. I already see Clubs telling their members to adapt their grows to the stipulations in the proposed Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill of 2020 and talking about maximum amounts to possess and all sorts of nonsense. It honestly gives me a royal, unending pain to see that, because the stupid bill isn’t law yet and we’re still busy fighting it. By telling people to adapt their grows and the amounts they possess to this, the message that is being sent is that this bill is good and fine and should be followed. Don’t do this! Okay, side rant over.

Members should also be educated about responsible Cannabis consumption, harms reduction and any other information that someone who consumes Cannabis, should know. It’s about knowing the plant, knowing how your body interacts with it and knowing what you can and can’t do. It advocates informed responsibility, something the broader community thinks stoners lack.

External Community Development

The collective of the Club then needs to contribute to its external community. This can be done in one of two ways. Should the non-profit Club record a profit, whatever part of that profit isn’t reinvested towards the development of the Club, can be donated to the Club’s chosen social cause. The other way is much simpler and easier – the members of the Club can donate their time and resources to the chosen cause.

This cause doesn’t necessarily need to be related to the Cannabis industry. There are societies right on our doorstep that need help, from a woman’s shelter that needs repairs or a feeding organisation that needs cooks and people to dish up, to communal food gardens being set up, local growers being educated on effective growing methods or a highway clean-up project that needs volunteers. The point is to help where help is needed, close to home.

But.. why bother?

Stoners have had a hard time of it. Some of us have been smoking weed for decades and we know all about being persecuted, ridiculed, denied jobs and stigmatized. Why should we care to contribute to the community that has condemned and judged us for so long?

Well, there are a few reasons I can give you. Firstly, please choose to be a better person. If you cán help, you should. It’s as simple as that. Also, who else is gonna change these people’s perception of us? Government? The police? The media? LOL. If you want someone to see you as more than an unproductive, non-contributing, lazy, unsuccessful stoner, there’s no-one better than YOU to show them that you’re more than that. How cool would it be if in 5 years, stoners are known as active contributors, always helping and empowering people – and have that become the norm? Then lastly and hopefully a short term reason until this is all legalised, we think it would really help a Club’s case in court (should it get to that) to have proof of the contributions it has made to society. Not only for that specific Club, but as a testimony of the integrity of the concept of the Dagga Private Club. Afterall, we are not criminals.

At Fields of Green for ALL we have a vision for Dagga Private Clubs. It must be a clean thing, not muddled by greed, selfishness or the incessant dick-swinging of the endless ego contests. It’s about the people and about those people taking care of  their people and of other people. It’s about integrity, based on genuine care and good intentions, backed up by deliberate, calculated actions.

Community Development is one of the ways we see this vision being fulfilled. It might not be a prescription based in law, but we sure do believe it is the inherent plight of the DPC.

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About the Author: Marleen Theunissen

Cannabis lover, spreader of love, hater of injustice and recently-turned activist.

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