South Africa is waiting patiently for an answer from the Constitutional Court as to whether our government must change our outdated, racist Cannabis laws.
In the meantime…
Fields of Green for ALL, on behalf of our JoinTheQ Dagga Arrest Helpline, has written to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA, Advocate Shaun Abrams) and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP, Advocate M.A Chauke, Gauteng Division) requesting that ALL prosecutions that fall within the “privacy” judgement handed down in the Cape Town High Court in March 2017 be put on hold pending the outcome of the state’s appeal. Any court that persists in prosecuting will be held in contempt of court. You can read the letter from our JTQ advocate, Adv James Grant (and our covering letter stating our demands) here. It is a matter of urgency that we fight to stop arrests and, more importantly, the mandatory incarceration of non-violent Cannabis users, traders and cultivators. In other words, stop locking us up in cages!
Even if the Con Court comes back with a broadly positive judgement, it will still take at least two years for the transition from criminalisation to regulation. That is a lot of arrests, considering that the police are still locking up stoners at a rate of at least 600 a day. The vast majority of arrests result in at least one night in the holding cells. A night you will never forget. If we can get a directive for all prosecutions to be stayed at Magistrate’s level then we have some hope of getting the police to stop locking us up.
And so many people think Cannabis is already legal in SA?
One of the accused who came to us for help was granted a stay in prosecution just last Friday. This brings our total to 73 Stays in Prosecution that have been granted in 6 of the 9 provincial divisions and 7 of the 15 High Courts in South Africa. This is an exhausting, expensive procedure, especially when the accused stays hundreds of kilometers from the nearest High Court. An example of this is 3 cases we are helping in Pofadder, Northern Cape. Their nearest High Court is in Kimberley, 600kms away. Enough is enough. We are all equal under the law.
… And further afield…
Shifts are starting to happen at the World Health Organisation in Geneva. The WHO advises the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs. Fields of Green for ALL attended CND61 in Vienna in March and expanded our network to include activists who are REALLY making a difference in the bloated, medieval world of international drug policy.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, organized citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
“This quote helps explain why a small group of volunteer Cannabis activists are in the position to address the WHO and its commitments to reframe international Cannabis policy.
Monday, 4 June 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) has begun to repair a Century-old injustice: The prohibition of Cannabis. This 40th meeting of the Who Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, whose job is to update drug treaties based upon evidence, was entirely dedicated to reviewing Cannabis, for the first time ever.”
We salute our friends in the pic above for captaining the civil society ship. Our affiliates at FAAAT Think and Do Tank worked around the clock to consolidate a joint statement from a wide range of organisations. Fields of Green for ALL was among 14 NGOs chosen to present to the committee:
And we’re saving the best news for last…
South Africans have the opportunity to have their say in what we want legal Cannabis to look like. Proposals for the Legal Regulation of Cannabis in South Africa are open for public comment and discussion. You can’t get what you want unless you KNOW what you want!
Looking forward to your feedback… Hard copies are available inside our Infopack at the FGA SHOP.
Nobody is free until we are ALL free, thanks for your ongoing support.
Myrtle, Jules, William, Jo & Charl.