We’re back in full swing after a glorious break with lots happening on the legalisation front already this year. The Trial of the Plant is a mere six months away and several media outlets ran with Cannabis stories over the festive season and into the new year. This demonstrates the ongoing newsworthiness of the subject and shows that South Africans have an appetite for Cannabis news as we all grow tired of the endless arrests and are desperate for an end to these irrational laws.
Who are these people?
Just before the holidays our attorneys received four Notices in Terms of Rule 36(9)(a) from the Defendants. These are notifications of the names of the experts that the seven government departments and Doctors for Life will be calling to counter our argument that Cannabis prohibition is unconstitutional. One of our frequently asked questions is “What does the opposition look like?” Well, here they are folks! The Witnesses for the State have plenty written about them all over the internet. The deadline for the defendants to submit summaries of these witnesses’ evidence is the end of March and more names can still be added to the list.
We are busy finalising our experts‘ travel itineraries and were very pleased to receive The Report on the Health Benefits of Cannabis and Cannabanoids from Dr Donald Abrams on Thursday. This is an important paper commissioned by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (USA) and it is significant that Dr Abrams is one of the authors as well as being our main medical expert. Of course this report states the usual “more research needs to be done” but it is important to note that it also states, unequivocally, that Cannabis is medicine and is effective in treating certain conditions. This goes well with our government’s plan to reschedule the plant in the near future.
However, medicine or not, there are still an average of 1000 arrests per day for Cannabis in South Africa. It remains our constitutional right to use this plant for whatever reason we wish. Our legal challenge across all four platforms remains the only way to shift both the endless stigma attached to the plant and the ignorance displayed by both government and law enforcement. ANYONE arrested on a Cannabis charge can apply for Stay in Prosecution pending the outcome of our case!
Also new for 2017 is a revamped Dagga Couple website. The Social Activism arm of the campaign is the fun part and the new site has loads of info on How You can Help, coming out of the Cannabis closet with our #ProudlyGreen project and comprehensive history and legal case timelines. We’re chasing 30 000 signatures on our petition… On our way to 100 000? Please load the mobile version onto your phone and get everyone you meet to sign. It’s quick, easy, free and every single signature is vital for our success after the trial!
This is the year that it starts to come together and all the hard work begins to pay off. We are so grateful for all the loyal support we have received over the last six years. It’s been a long road that still requires very careful steps along the way but it is no longer a question of “if”, it is a question of “when” and “how?”. Stick with the programme and let’s keep our eyes on the prize. Cannabis is not legal until every single citizen can cultivate and trade in this plant within a fairly regulated system.
Fields of Green for ALL!