Interpretations of the Dagga Private Club Model

By |Published On: December 8th, 2020|
Cannabis Can Help South Africa

Over the past few months, I’ve spoken to loads of people who want to or already have started Dagga Private Clubs and it’s interesting to see how many different interpretations of the model there are. By interpretations I mean this: the base of the model remains centered on privacy and community, but within that community the DPC may operate according to different needs of the community, and resources it has available. Over time, I created 5 main interpretations according to all these conversations I’ve had, the research I’ve done and what the community needs. These five are not the only ones and I’m not saying that you’re doing it wrong if you can’t categorise your Club in one of these five categories. This will still see much refinement over time as we get exposed to more and more Clubs who wish to do things right.

1. Informal Club

An informal Club is a DPC who has 30 members or less and isn’t a registered non-profit company, because of its size. For a Dagga Private Club with, for example, 20 members, each member would have to be charged quite a bit for the Club to be able to cover its overheads. It just doesn’t make sense. So, as long as the numbers remain low, the Club isn’t registered. This doesn’t mean that the Club is free of its obligations in terms of paperwork. Keeping records is not just a menial admin task, you’re keeping records so that you can prove firstly, that you are not dealing in Cannabis. Secondly, the Club needs to be transparent about how fees are calculate, hence – record keeping. The Informal Club therefore needs to keep record of its members, of its harvests and distribution of Cannabis and the costing related to the supply of Cannabis.

2. Digital Club

The name sort of speaks for itself really, and this is probably hands down the most popular interpretation out there right now. All interaction takes place online, after some sort of platform that requires members to authenticate themselves. The Club will probably have way more than 30 members, so it needs to be a registered non-profit company if it’s above that limit. Members are generally charged a monthly or annual membership fee, which allows them access to the Club’s services. Just because it all takes place online doesn’t mean that the Club should discourage any physical meetings or events. As it feels the need, the Club may host events for their members where a physical venue is used. The Club must complete the documentation needed from a compliance point of view and also records of their members, their needs and requirements, a growers or growing register and records, harvest and distribution registers and community development efforts.

3. Care-givers Club

Many Dagga Private Clubs have a community of elders who have discovered the therapeutic uses of Cannabis – a little ointment for arthritis, oil for the heart or tea for the nerves. It’s important to note from the outset that their use of Cannabis is not part of a formalized medical regime, so the interpretation doesn’t pretend to conform to any medical prescriptions or laws. It aims to create stability and aid a specific type of user. It still needs to go the formal route if the Club has more than 30 members and it also needs to partake in community development and strict record-keeping of its activities.

4. Venue-based Club

Again, the name of this interpretation speaks for itself. The Dagga Private Club has a dedicated venue for its members, entry subject to authorization (beause it’s still private, remember?) It should also be a registered entity and because the chances are great that there will be some commercial activity in the Club (cooldrinks, food, a head shop, grow section, etc. – NOT Cannabis!), the record-keeping must be very strict. All records relating to members and their needs, growers and their capability, the growing, harvesting and distribution of Cannabis and clear costing models must be updated frequently and diligently.

5. The Stokvel Club

The final interpretation of the Dagga Private Club Model is aiming to cater to the current illegal market in the townships. They are familiar with the stokvel concept because they’ve been practicing it for years in various forms – funeral, grocery, travel or even clothing stokvels. Through an assisted process of social development, the Club must start by implementing the basic documentation, such as a members and distribution register. The aim is to empower the community to become a registered business that complies with all the requirements of a Dagga Private Club. Other Clubs could look at adopting a stokvel Club as part of their social responsibility cause towards community development.

As I said, these aren’t the only interpretations possible of the Dagga Private Club Model. Feel free to let me know if there’s something else you think should be included – I’m open to hearing what’s happening out there. At the end, what makes it a Dagga Private Club is mainly the private part and the community part following as a close second. However you want to interpret it after that, is up to you!

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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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  1. Devan Sagadavan January 25, 2021 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    Good day

    I’m very much interested in opening my own Dagga clubhouse.

    I want to open a Dagga (Feng Shui) club for people to just to unwind and relax, an atmosphere where people can smoke weed without worrying about getting arrested. I also want to assist the elderly with medicinal products.

    Would you be able to assist me in acquiring a licence to fulfill this dream of mine or alternatively direct me on how to obtain a licence to do this legally.

    • Marleen Theunissen January 29, 2021 at 12:51 pm - Reply

      Hey Devan,
      There are no licenses for Dagga Private Clubs. Also, Dagga Private Clubs are still illegal. If you want to do this legally, you’ll need to wait a few more years!

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