Legal Overview

If you have been arrested on a Cannabis related charge and require assistance, please refer to our legal assistance project, JoinTheQueue.

Trial of the Plant legal case

In 2010, Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke, aka The Dagga Couple, were arrested and subsequently sued 7 South African Government Departments on charges of enacting unlawful laws. They are currently plaintiffs and supporters of multiple legal challenges taking place to legalise Cannabis in South Africa. Our primary court case is the Trial of the Plant that started in the Pretoria High Court on 31 July  and was adjourned sine die on 18 August 2017. We are currently also focused on our Desired Outcomes as it is essential that we give our input when defining legalisation.

Various experts, both local and international, were set to testify at the trial under the four platforms listed below. Many witnesses and experts for the State, Doctors for Life and us were however not permitted the opportunity to present and defend their evidence as the Pretoria High Court trial was unable to be concluded in the given time. Live stream footage of the trial can be found on The Dagga Couple YouTube channel. Our legal team are in the process of setting a date for the trial to resume in 2018.

In March 2017 the Western Cape High Court unanimously ruled that Cannabis be legalised and that the South African government conclude applicable legislation within 2 years. Although the conditions of the court’s ruling were based on personal privacy rights and not particularly on the evidence that the plaintiffs submitted, it was a strong step in the right direction and a victory for personal freedom. The State however appealed this ruling which led to the matter reaching the highest court in the country. In July 2018 the Constitutional Court heard the case for Cannabis legalisation in South Africa. Fields of Green for ALL were a part of this historical movement as we had been permitted to join the Western Cape High Court ruling and the opportunity to offer our views to the Constitutional Court on this pressing matter. You can view a timeline of the legal court cases here.

While we await the Constitutional Court verdict it is important that we continue to not only fight for legalisation, but that we also understand what the Desired Outcomes of this process should be. It would not be ideal for South Africa to experience a solution that severely limits Civil Society’s access to the plant or that practically maintains prohibition by creating unreasonable barriers to entry. We therefore encourage you to please read our Desired Outcomes document and submit your comments.

The South African Drugs and Drugs Trafficking Act No.140 of 1993 lists Cannabis under “Undesirable Dependence-Producing Substances” and states that “Canabis (sic) (Dagga), the whole plant or any portion thereof, except dronabinol, is illegal.”

(The “except dronabinol” part is the subject of much debate and you can read our opinion on this issue here.)

For a summary of The Dagga Couple’s legal argument, please click here.

A summary of both sides of the argument can be found on our Legal Case Timeline.

You can read the transcript of the first day of The Trial of the Plant here.

Use of Cannabis for Health

Go Now

Responsible Adult Use of Cannabis

Go Now

Use of Cannabis in Industry

Go Now

Traditional Religious & Cultural Use

Go Now

Trial of the Plant legal caseThe High Court will rule on the constitutionality of the matter. Thereafter, the case may have to go to the Supreme Court of Appeal before being heard by the highest (!) court in the land, the Constitutional Court.

A timeline of the progress of the case can be found on The Dagga Couple website All information about our JoinTheQueue programme, where we help people who have been arrested on a Cannabis charge to apply for a Stay of Prosecution pending the outcome of The Dagga Couple’s case, is available on the JoinTheQueue website.

Trial of the Plant legal case

Achieving not only the legalisation of Cannabis in South Africa, but also the realistic governance of the post legalisation market, Fields of Green for ALL is a non-profit organisation that supports and promotes constructive engagement around the development of the pending legal South African Cannabis industry. Should you wish to be part of the discussion regarding these outcomes, please visit The Green Network.