Dagga Private Clubs Are A Harm Reduction Tool

By |Published On: January 25th, 2024|

The research has been done. Dagga Private Clubs are a proven Harm Reduction tool. This has been evident since the first clubs appeared as safe spaces in Spain over a decade ago.

The stigma surrounding Cannabis and its use is still alive and well in South Africa. The perceived harms of Cannabis are reflected in the ongoing arrests and media attention given to “What about the children?” and “Dagga laced with other drugs”, etc. What better way to reduce stigma than to provide SAFE spaces for ADULTS where they can obtain and enjoy QUALITY products, correctly labelled and served by TRAINED staff?

I live a 20 minute drive from the CBD (that kind) of Cape Town. I need to go to the city at least once a week, usually for work, which takes me to different corners of the city. Recently, every time I paid a visit, I encountered a new Cannabis outlet somewhere that I have not seen before, and I know the city well from when I used to live there. It is clear that  “the times they are a-changing”.

We are not free until we are ALL free!

Many Cannabis outlets in South Africa are PRIVATE clubs that are trying very hard to adhere to best practice for clubs , taking our Constitutional Court judgement to heart and guided by Fields Of Green For ALL, common sense and international best practice.

Any clubs should support and guide members on the use of Cannabis and ensure that they provide quality products and these two practises can be seen as as harm reduction tools.

Useful links:

ICEERS: Harm Reduction and Cannabis Social Clubs

 Social Dimension of Cannabis Social Clubs

Unfortunately some so called ‘clubs’ exploit our absent regulations  and prioritise profit over harm reduction and community. Many buy the SAPS more than just donuts, and are blatantly advertising their goods to passers by. Some seem to think they are protected under dodgy Section 21 ”licenses”. (The Section 21 issue is another blog for another day!) There are also many of those so-called “wellness vendors” that, by law, should only sell hemp and CBD products. Instead of club membership, they offer THC medibles and vapes, as these are (unlike Cannabis flower) not as obviously recognised.

Why are Cannabis Social Clubs promoted as a Harm Reduction tool?

  • These are safe spaces with access control.
  • Private Clubs reduce stigma.
  • Clubs educate members with what is otherwise hard to find information.
  • Clubs offer informed choices.
  • Most proper clubs tend towards selling only tested products, so you know exactly the potency of the product you are ingesting, which is a high priority with most regular and beginner consumers.
  • Making informed choices also comes with the social advantage of sharing a private space with like-minded individuals.
  • Cannabis Social Clubs do their best to protect the growers, those that make products and those that consume it.

Despite all this, in 2024 the club model is still in question in Spain where it remains a regulative grey area.

A vibrant Dagga Private Club should, at least, also offer social activities such as comedy evenings, competitions, quiz nights, live music, video games or host pastimes such as yoga or craft. These undertakings help reduce stigma while building the community. Stoners are not always couch potatoes! You can do many more things when stoned than when drunk!

Many clubs have restaurants, not so many have bars. Having a no or restricted alcohol policy also creates a safer environment. These and many other harm reduction aspects of social clubs were included in a 4 year study researched by our international affiliate, ICEERS. The research team had the following to say about the study:

“This study delves into the demographics, behaviours, and social dynamics of members of Cannabis Social Clubs (CSCs) in Barcelona from 2017 to 2020. Analyzing data from 2007 members across five CSCs, it reveals that most members are young men, with an average age of 36.1 years, and shows gender differences in cannabis procurement patterns. The study also highlights the longer membership duration among women, older adults, and medical users, despite their lower cannabis use compared to young, recreational male members.”

Let’s not forget that Fields of Green for ALL is fighting alongside The Haze Club to clarify legal aspects surrounding clubs following the September 2108 Constitutional Court “Privacy” judgement. Our legal fees, and those of the main defendants, are astronomical! We invite clubs who would like to contribute towards these expenses and other strategic litigation – for the benefit of ALL – to sign up to become members of our Dagga Private Clubs Project.

More information about our DPC Project here.

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: Charl Henning

I have worked at Fields of Green For All and Stop The Cops since 2014. Apart from day to day admin I also man our helpline and support victims of arrest.

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  1. cameron April 3, 2024 at 11:21 am - Reply

    Hi there . i see all the info but still dont know what are the next steps are for opening up a small outlet . what paperwork or what i need in order to make this work

    • Ami April 3, 2024 at 1:40 pm - Reply

      Thank you for your comment. Any form of trade is still illegal. Private clubs are still in court regarding the legality of them. All we have right now is best business practices and to be brave. There is still huge risk in openeing a private club and shop/outlet would be even a greater risk as this is out right trade. Most important is the privacy aspect of the club and to not bribe or pay the cops as the just creates a perpetual cycle of harrasment and corruption.

  2. Danny February 6, 2024 at 7:04 am - Reply

    Strong article, thanks Carl

  3. Dave R. January 31, 2024 at 3:08 am - Reply

    Common sense – you’d think that would rule the day, but it never does. Social norms take a while to bend around the changes. I live in the USA and see this happening all over. It’s gotten to the point where my IT colleagues feel comfortable enough in social banter to mention edibles and other prevalent thc products that are less harmful than alcohol. I like the idea of monitored dagga clubs cause that keeps it the safest it can be…pity the laws are lagging behind and leaving this gap where it might be needed.

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