Before we knew that our tour would be interrupted by a momentous Constitutional Court judgement, we set off to KwaZulu Natal province to start spreading the word about what our Cannabis Community wants the Legal Regulation of our favourite plant to look like.
First stop was Richards Bay, where we were hosted by The Bobby Greenhash Foundation. We streamed an episode of the #HotBoxShow from their buzzing, private dispensary that has been helping the community for years. With a byline that states “Legalise, Regulate, Educate, Medicate”, the crew at the foundation are dedicated and working hard to be an example for everyone. Our presentation was really well attended & received. This was the first audience for a brand new batch of content so huge thanks to the kind people of this coastal port for being our guinea pigs!
After our ‘up country’ crew got a chance to put their toes into the sea, we headed for Durban, or eThekwini as it is known in isiZulu. Home to the legendary Durban Poison strain, we were welcomed by Krithi Thaver and the staff of the Holistic Releaf and Wellness Centre. Here is an example of exemplary “civil disobedience” as a medical doctor, a traditional healer and an ayurvedic practitioner are on hand to provide Cannabis information and education to the hundreds of Durban patients seeking safe access to medicine. We presented to a packed room and made sure to fill up on delicious Indian delicacies which were in abundance for our guests. A well fed stoner is a happy stoner! Here is an example of a private space that has worked very hard under prohibition to do things with integrity and now they can continue their exemplary work without fear of prosecution.
From the eThekwini metropolis we headed south down the coast past a string of sleepy tropical towns to Port Shepstone. On the way we stopped at Umkomaas SAPS to voice our dissatisfaction at the local cops terrorising their Rastafarian community. We arrived at our venue and bed for the night a little rattled. Our hosts at Hilltop Farm Lodge welcomed us with open arms and poured out a story of heartache and injustice that still weighs heavily on our hearts. From the heady success of the two models we saw working further up the coast, we were hit with the reality of two mothers with five children and no food in the house.
Christine and Jenny’s husbands have been in jail with NO BAIL since January. While most members of the local community have ostracised them, the Cannabis community have rallied around. People streamed into the venue bringing snacks for all, donations, really good weed and heaps of love. Members of the community who get the injustice of the situation have helped with everything from farm maintenance to petrol & car repairs so that Christine and Jenny can attend court.
ALL CANNABIS PRISONERS ARE TO BE LET OUT OF JAIL AND GIVEN A STAY IN PROSECUTION PENDING THE OUTCOME OF THE DAGGA COUPLE’S CASE.
This is part of our Non-Negotiable Outcomes within our Proposals for the Legal Regulation of Cannabis in South Africa. The accused in this case were granted a stay in prosecution by the Durban High Court but when they walked out of court they were rearrested immediately. We have seen nothing in their papers that justifies this gross violation of human rights by the Hawks, who are convinced that theirs is a big syndicate but have yet to prove it.
Imagine you are sitting in jail and you hear the news from the Con Court but you can’t even see your children? Their application for another stay is only being heard in December and there is no money for either lawyers or bail. This is while, from behind bars, these peaceful, non-violent men see murderers and rapists getting bail every day.
Activists in Port Shepstone are not taking the injustice lying down. They organised a protest in front of the Magistrate’s Court and this was reported in the local newspaper. They are also rallying around the families and hosted a private fund raising event at Hilltop Farm Lodge last weekend. Looking forward to the pics folks. You are NOT alone and you are NOT criminals.
From the coast we headed inland to the picturesque KwaZulu Natal Midlands. Horsey, farming country where Cannabis medicine has been used to treat animals and humans for hundreds of years. Hosted by the people of Howick and surrounds, we have to admit that among the gifts we received was some of the best weed we have ever smoked! Thanks to our local supporters who helped set up at the Agricultural Hall, a fitting and charming venue.
The difficulties inherent in Cannabis “decriminalisation” in South Africa are stark and real. We are very grateful to all who support us along the road. We are proving that it is really essential that we visit as many communities as we can. Time, energy and the petrol price are not on our side but we will carry on regardless.
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Cape Town and the Winelands… See you soon!