After 14 grueling days in court in August 2017 The Trial of the Plant ground to a halt. Days of filibustering and protracted cross examination of our expert witnesses led to the trial being rendered “part heard”.
The rest of 2017 and going into 2018 was a time of great uncertainty until the Judge Davis et al handed down their judgement in the Prince / Acton case in the Western Cape High Court. We joined as co-applicants in the state’s appeal to the Constitutional Court and, as they say, the rest is history. Nobody can ever take away from us the fact that the prohibition of the personal use and cultivation of Cannabis in private spaces has been unconstitutional since Nelson Mandela signed our world class constitution into law on 10 December 1996.
We have no doubt that the evidence from The Trial of the Plant was influential on the judges’ decision even though the judgement stated that it was not fully considered. Some may say that we have got the relief that we seek but we beg to differ. Firstly we, as The Dagga Couple and our co-plaintiff medical Cannabis patient, Clifford Thorpe, are all facing “dealing” charges and the judgement made it very clear that no trade is allowed (yet). However, running another month long trial is complicated and very expensive. After lengthy debate with our phenomenal legal team at Schindlers Attorneys, we wrote to the Deputy Judge President, Judge Ledwaba, who has been managing our case since 2015, requesting that we postpone the trial until after the legislature has made their decisions around the new laws and regulations.
If the legal regulation of Cannabis in South Africa is not in line with our constitution, Bill of Rights and the will of the people, we will go straight back to Pretoria and do it all again with our brilliant legal team and world class Cannabis experts. One could say that we have a gun to the government’s heads!
If the need arises, we will gather our experts to give their evidence before parliament.
Our request for the lengthy postponement was favourably received by Judge Ledwaba but he indicated in a letter that it is too early to apply for a date now. He suggested we apply for a date during 2020 as the legislature has until September 2021 to carry out the order of the Constitutional Court.
Right now in South Africa it is VERY busy in Cannabis-land! Everyone is running around trying to be first at this and first at that. All we can say is that we seem to be the only organisation that is running around worrying what the new law is going to look like. You will hear our opinions about everything in the end but this will ONLY be within context of making the voice of civil society heard. Loud & Clear. We are South Africa’s first Cannabis Legalisation Non-Profit Company and that is enough for us. We have a job to do… Fields of Green for ALL is still some time (and a whole lot of hard work) away…
Thanks for your ongoing support!
Myrtle, Jules, William, Charl & Joanne