To Petition Or Not To Petition

By |Published On: January 28th, 2013|

During the course of last weekend the DC crept over the 15,000 ‘Likes’ milestone on our Facebook page. Our support, from absolutely all walks of life, rises slowly but surely. We receive  poignant letters from anonymous smokers who have used the plant all their lives and hold down respected and responsible positions in South African society. Although these people support what we’re about, they are uncomfortable to ‘come out’ about their recreational preferences.
We understand.
We remember an instance of  instant dismissal for a joint in a company car. We know of spouses who pull the ‘Dagga’ story to affect who gets custody of the children. People get uncomfortable about the ‘D’ word, don’t they?

However, we  feel it – more and more South Africans are starting to talk about the Dagga conundrum. The national papers are writing increasingly more liberal articles on the subject. The ‘War on Drugs” conversation and it’s inherent failures, seem to be filtering down to the SA written media slowly. Dagga is still Gagga though….. it seems.

One thing that the media attention reinforces  is the realisation that Dagga can be talked about…it’s not completely taboo, (maybe it is in isolated groups). The start of 2013 saw the DC immediately being the subjects of social media threads from communities we considered completely against us. It turns out some people are –  prohibition is the only way many people can think – but we were pleasantly surprised at the positive responses from (in one instance) a predominately conservative, christian online group. It may well have taken some courage to become pro Dagga on such a thread for some. As you all know, some Dagga conversations rapidly deteriorate into a polarlised ‘slanging match’. We ask our supporters time and again to be polite, find a middle ground and respect other peoples views because like you, they are entitled to them. The thread in question got quite heated, we think mainly because it was so far removed from the regular threads this page normally discusses. Dagga and ‘drugs’ is THE most emotive of subjects. Baby steps.

We monitored traffic into the DC website and it certainally picked up for the week after the particular thread was closed. Maybe we were visited by some inquisitive minds from the fringes of  prohibition to read about the alternatives. More people tentatively coming out of the closet a bit and checking out a completely different story to the one they’ve been told for two generations. We hope so.

For the laws to be changed, everyone has to ‘come out’ and declare their affinity or support for the Dagga plant in South Africa. Supporting the re-legalisation cause doesn’t necessarily mean you rip lank bongs and park off, a stoner enemy of the state – it means  you understand the benefits of this plant , from medicine to food,  building materials, clothing etc. By supporting the re-legalisation cause you also understand the horrific costs to society the continued prohibition of the plant has. Casual users with suspended sentences unable to get a job because of a misdemeanor in their late teens/early 20’s. (You cant believe how many of them there are in SA- it’s heartbreaking). We’re convinced there are tons of people in SA walking around completely unaware that they’ve got a criminal record for dope. Just because you paid the fine/bribe/extortion, doesn’t mean the docket disappeared….Some people only find out when they apply for a visa….no kidding.

We all have to dodge the bullets and stand up for what we believe in don’t we? As the meme goes: ‘If you don’t look after your rights, you’ll lose them’.  The prohibition of Dagga is a human rights issue. YOUR human rights. Remember, the plant isn’t illegal, your use of it is. If it means that much to you, join our voice and en masse we can show the powers that be, that it’s the will of the people, and not political suicide.

The Re-legalisation petition has been devised to do just this. There is no time scale and there is no minimum or maximum amount of votes to be achieved. The longer it runs alongside our legal challenge, the more people will sign it and, in time, there will be a solid voice from the cannabis community. This petition is not admissible in court but after the Constitutional Court case, it will show the policy makers that we have a national voice.

The petition has to be as ‘official’ as we can make it. We have to prove that whoever voted is a ‘real’ South African. We ask for your ID number for this very reason. And this is our stumbling block. This is the bit where a whole bunch of people turn back. Delete Tab. Maybe next time. Identity theft is one reason – this is why we’ve made the petition as secure as anything on the internet can be, (at great monthly expense!).
The most common objection is South Africa’s ‘Big Brother’ will be checking out the names and it’ll only be trouble in the end.
Do you really believe that? We don’t. And even if ‘they’ did, what are they going to do? You support the end of prohibition of a plant, it doesn’t mean you rip bongs all day, remember. Even if you do, you have rights!

So as we see the ‘Likes’ clicking over 15,000 on Facebook, the biggest and most sophisticated surveillance device on the planet, we can only wonder why there are still only half that amount of names on the petition.

Something ain’t right. if you support the Re-legalisation of Dagga in South Africa, please sign the petition. Its the first step. We need you!

Make a difference. Its simple… desktop or mobile… Then go and  tell a friend (or 60!)

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

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


About the Author: Jules Stobbs

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