This is the million rand question that has been filling the airwaves and our inboxes since last week. The Inkatha Freedom Party announced “Victory for medical Cannabis use in South Africa” , citing major developments in the private members bill introduced by the late Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini in 2014.
We feel that this is a step in the right direction despite the road being littered with typically South African potholes. Jules, Director of Social Activism at Fields of Green for ALL, penned a good many words outlining our response to this news. Published by News 24, “Legalisation Opens a Crack in the Wall” is our side of the story.
Below the Lion, a Fields of Green for ALL Affiliate and SA’s leading Cannabis Culture magazine and headshop, was quick off the mark with “Government just approved medical marijuana in South Africa.” This sparked widespread public interest with the article reaching upwards of 200 000 people on Facebook alone.
It is always a pleasure to chat with Gareth at Cliff Central and you can listen to the interview clicking on the pic on the left. We’ve been chatting on the radio and the overall consensus is on the positive side of things despite hearing some pretty bizarre prohibitionist talk this week. The Talk 702 presenter likened our favourite herb to the very dangerous digitalis plant when I said that nobody had ever died from using Cannabis. Jules and William both had interviews in the middle of the night on Cape Talk with someone phoning in accusing Jules of being a potential axe murderer. This is all getting the word out and we love radio because it is the real medium of the people.
We rounded off this very welcome media frenzy with a trip to the SABC this morning. Eben Jansen is as #ProudlyGreen as it is possible to be and still keep your job at the public broadcaster. Thank you Eben. We were also taught by the PR person of the Central Drug Authority that Cannabis causes HIV. Apparently if you use this plant you will lose all morals and your risky behaviour will lead to HIV. You have to watch for yourself, this is what our opposition looks like folks.
Cast your mind back to 2014 when the authors of the Medical Innovation Bill were still alive. Fields of Green for ALL submitted an official response to parliament entitled “Who is going to play god?” Nobody has answered that question yet. What about the fact that the Drugs and Drugs Trafficking Act has, since 1992, stated that “Canabis (sic) (Dagga), the whole plant or any portion thereof, except dronabinol, is illegal”? If you do some research you could conclude that medicinal Cannabis has been legal since 1992. What is dronabinol? If you missed our take on the subject you can read it in The Dagga Couple blog.
So there it is. More questions than answers and a whole lot of reading for everyone to get up to speed. Medical Cannabis is NOT legal, yet. In our world, Cannabis will not be legal in South Africa until each and every citizen is allowed to grow their own medicine. We are being inundated with questions about where to get a permit, how to get a prescription, how to prescribe it (yes, doctors mailing in to find out!), how to be a test subject for all the research, where to get the medicine… Hold on.
At the same time, our #JoinTheQueue Dagga Arrest Helpline is ringing off the hook. To date there have been 40 successful Stays of Prosecution around the country and we have 60 active cases on our books. There are 1000 arrests for Cannabis in South Africa PER DAY. Go figure!
If you want to be part of the solution to the problem posed by these questions, please join The Green Network. We need all the help we can get. After you have joined up, take a deep breath and LET’S HAVE A PARTY!!!…. (Members of The Green Network get in for FREE!)