In December 2017, arrests and detention of peaceful members of the South African Cannabis Culture were an every day occurrence. We wrote a blog imploring the South African Police to Stop Locking Us Up in Cages! The arrests were off the wall in those days, sometimes reaching over 600 a day.
We never thought, after September 2018, we would still be fighting to keep the cops away from us. We won a battle along the way and the arrests have decreased BUT… They didn’t stop. Even for personal use in private spaces. The brutality and mandatory incarceration have continued. Members of the Cannabis Culture still have their property stolen & destroyed, spending weekends in police station holding cells or even ending up in the awaiting trial sections of overcrowded and notoriously dangerous correctional facilities. Why?
Unfortunately for us, the extent of the ignorance & widespread corruption in the South African Police force has obviously never been brought to the attention of the Constitutional Court. The ‘privacy’ judgement of 2018 gave the cops sweeping powers and we wrote about it at the time. The SAPS still have their power, their guns and their prejudice.
Our community has had to rally around and raise funds for two particularly dire cases this past week.
Five peaceful citizens were raided in their home on Friday morning. After having to watch their property being wrecked by the police they were hauled off to spend the weekend in the holding cells. Yesterday the persecuted citizens were brought before court with a group of activists attending for support. Court dragged on and all but the main accused were granted bail. It was set at R5000 per person. Everyone rallied around to get the money together but by that time it was too late in the day and the accused were sent to “Sun City” – Diepkloof Prison south of Joburg, one of the notorious establishments mentioned above.
Today saw all but the main accused released on bail. A gentle, wise and incredibly kind man is locked up in a filthy steel cage for growing weed. We have a ground breaking Constitutional Court judgement. Businesses practising civil disobedience trade near police stations. Cannabis expos attract tens of thousands of people. What is going on South Africa? When will the police leave us alone?
The ongoing saga of Heartbreak in the Land of the Zulus is still a huge challenge. Five men have been locked up in Westville maximum security prison for FIFTEEN MONTHS with no bail. Charges: Cultivation and trade in Cannabis. Really? It is a human rights travesty that these men are not allowed to be with their families and conduct their defense under bail conditions that are appropriate for a non-violent “offence”. Once again the Cannabis Community rallied around and raised enough money for their wives to get expert legal assistance for their next attempt to bring their husbands and the fathers of their children home.
These are not isolated incidents. We suspect there are hundreds of people languishing in South African jails for Cannabis. The same plant, by the way, that South Africans are flocking in their droves to learn about at expos and hustling all over the place to get into the business.
The FIRST priority in changing the law MUST be to separate the SAPS and the Cannabis plant. Completely. Free all Cannabis prisoners immediately, with no conditions, or we will keep fighting in court until this happens.
Fields of Green for ALL will continue to focus awareness campaigns and fund raising efforts to stop the cops and put an end these travesties. Those who are currently persecuted ought to be given the freedom to thrive in the new Cannabis economy. We guarantee that most people who have been incarcerated for Cannabis in South Africa have a whole lot to contribute to the future and our aim of Fields of Green for ALL South Africans.
A big thank you to all the very generous people out there who donated to the emergency funds this week. Let’s not forget our brothers and sisters in jail and fighting for their human rights in court. Become a regular donor by joining The Green Network, please. Let’s finish what we all set out to do!
If you are in trouble with the law or you have any questions you can contact our JoinTheQueue Dagga Arrest helpline an download our latest Know your Rights booklet HERE.