History – Knowledge for the Future of Cannabis in South Africa

By |Published On: June 3rd, 2020|
history of cannabis

South Africa has a rich history of Cannabis use & a disgraceful history of Cannabis prohibition that few people are aware of. The prohibition of Cannabis manifested because the colonialist rulers believing it sapped the vitality of their workers. Therefore, they banned the substance and use thereof. Part of our Cannabis can Help South Africa campaign is about paving the way for the future of Cannabis in South Africa. First, we must understand the history.

Late 19th century: The British Army settlers disliked their Hindu slaves using Cannabis or “bhang” as a sacrament in the sugar cane fields of the (Kwa-Zulu) Natal Colony. The colonialists concluded that consumption of Cannabis rendered their slaves unfit for working at the expected standard. 1

1910: The Union of South Africa was established, and with it a ban on the sale and consumption of Indian Hemp (Cannabis) for all population groups was implemented.

1940’s – 1950’s: South African governments undertook an obsessive amount of research concerning Cannabis. This culminated in the 1952 ‘Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Abuse of Dagga’ (RIDCAD), a “ground-breaking” publication in its day, but with no scientific evidence. It spread negative information regarding Cannabis and it’s effects.

1971: South Africa passed the ‘Abuse of Dependence Producing Substances and Rehabilitation Centres Act of 1971’ leading to the arrest of over 77,000 citizens (with the majority being African males).

Mid-1980’s: The Drugs & Drug Trafficking Act of 1992 came about as an amendment to the 1971 Act, and is the current law dealing with illicit drugs, including Dagga, in South Africa.

The same law that was found to be unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court in September of 2018!

Our initiative, Cannabis Can Help South Africa, aims to reinforce changes in the regulations of the laws surrounding Cannabis, to ensure that it is not used simply as another capitalist exploit by the government. Our aim is to submit a Manifesto for Policy Reform directly to government along with a letter addressed to the president and a petition used to fortify our suggested regulations.

Cannabis prohibition was built on racist foundations that supported the exploitation of slaves. Fields of Green for ALL is appealing to our fellow Cannabis community to share our petition far and wide so that we can show the government what it means to stand together for the right thing.

cannabis can help south africa

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Thank you to our FGA Affiliates who help to make our ongoing content creation possible!


About the Author: Marleen Theunissen

Cannabis lover, spreader of love, hater of injustice and recently-turned activist.

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