What it’s Really Like Without Jules – 2 Years After His Murder

By |Published On: July 3rd, 2022|
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Let me start by saying this is an opinion piece. After working behind the scenes at Fields of Green for ALL since 2015, and a friend of Myrtle and Jules and The Jazzfarm since before they became The Dagga Couple, I’ve had this fire burning and something needs to be said to the Cannabis community at large. Consider this an open letter.

I do need to also make something clear – we absolutely cherish our Affiliates and current Green Network community – we could not have kept going without your continued support through some to put it bluntly, extremely trying times. It’s true that when you surround yourself with a small group of genuine, actively good humans, miracles can happen. Surely that day in September was a miracle – one created and driven by this very special community of ours that consistently shows up when it matters the most. This article I guess isn’t really for you, so before getting into it – light one up for Jules today!

Today is the day. 2 years since we lost half of our foundation and driving force.

Trigger warning as I talk about crime, Cannabis and murder and the harsh realities of being a non-profit organisation, in South Africa, fighting against human rights violations, a lackluster and corrupt Government, whilst working daily to create and share the only large body of evidence based research regarding all aspects of Cannabis in South Africa.

As I put all my thoughts down I can hardly believe this is actually reality. I could be writing a script for a Hollywood Blockbuster movie with everything we at Fields of Green for ALL have had to fight for to be here today. But I am getting ahead of myself – I talk about this further down this article with A Back Story and Context to Jules’ Murder

Please don’t mistake this piece as a plea for sympathy or pity. We are not by any means sitting back, woe is me, we’ve always been the ones actually taking action to make things better not just for us but for all South Africans, despite the circumstances. Sympathy doesn’t help. We need action.

I just can’t believe that 2 years is all it took to forget about the very people that made it possible for us to be where we are today in terms of Cannabis in SA. I’m saying all this because I know that Jules was never one to stand down or not speak up for something he believed in, no matter how hard it was to say or what backlash he faced for it. Jules was an advocate for speaking the truth, and that is all I am doing – speaking the truth because I really just think many of you don’t know. And I’m not blaming you for not knowing. We have tried (and I think succeeded to our own detriment) to put on a brave face. But someone needs to tell the real story of what it’s actually like, without Jules.

If you get emotionally triggered by what I say, maybe it’s because it struck a nerve and you know you feel you can or could have done more to help – it’s never too late.

So what is it really like without Jules? It’s hard. Really f***ing hard. We currently have less than 100 members of The Green Network – you can do the math in terms of how our monthly budget is doing, we have a small crew of people, productive stoners, who all have day jobs as well as the time they dedicate to Fields of Green for ALL, who have really had to try to keep this fight alive and make up for the huge loss, and create some sort of way forward.

We are a NON PROFIT! We run on donations. We do not do this for the money, and maybe sometimes, for a fleeting indulgent moment we’re not even sure why we are doing it anymore.

But someone has to do it. Someone has to say it. If I don’t say this, who will? If we don’t keep fighting for evidence based policy and for the freedom of the plant and ALL South Africans to benefit from it…. Who will?

If we didn’t compile the evidence used for the Cape Town High Court case – who would have?

Not a week goes by without another phone call of someone being arrested unlawfully on a Cannabis charge. Charl has heard thousands of these cases on our helpline and has patiently helped each and every one with the information and empathy they need.

There are over 100 stays of prosecution pending the outcome of The Trial of the Plant – which again, has everyone forgotten that the evidence was never fully heard in that trial and that it was only postponed?

Why are more Cannabis consumers and businesses not more interested in that case and what is happening?

Why do we only have less than 100 Green Network members who are willing to spend R49 a month to help. 2 litres of petrol worth to fuel the ongoing fight for evidence based research informed Cannabis laws that benefit ALL South Africans?

We would love to go back to court and finish this once and for all, but that takes millions of rands. We’re not a green rush business with millions to spend on licenses that regulate laws that don’t exist. Just because we’ve been around for so long doesn’t mean we’re actually seeing the benefits of our hard work.

Be careful what you wish for right? Because ironically, Fields of Green for ALL in reality means if you give willingly, dedicate your life to changing unjust laws, to helping over 100 people to get stays of prosecution, to force the Government’s hand to start taking some sort of action on the long road to Cannabis re-legalisation in South Africa……then there are a multitude of people that readily grab what seems like a good opportunity in a flourishing and rapidly growing new industry in South Africa without so much as a thought for the decade and more of hard work by actual, real, people. Human beings just like you.

And I’m talking about all the types of opportunists we’ve seen crop up, including the big chain stores selling CBD and plant derived items – what ever happened to Corporate Social Responsibility – especially when our unemployment rate is what it is? How about even R49 per board member to go to the actual real cost of the current semi, grey area, privacy legalisation that allows the soccer moms to spend hundreds of Rands on imported, processed products that could ALL BE DONE HERE LOCALLY? That is what we are fighting for – our locals – the original Dagga Farmers and traders. Is R49 a month too high a price to pay to support our legacy growers and stakeholders?

I just can’t help feeling like the larger part of the South African stoner and Cannabis community really need to get some fresh air and think about things and the fact that something as small as a R10 donation, by even 10% of the Cannabis users in South Africa, would mean we could be proactive, continue The Trial of the Plant, and end this grey area. Surely that seems like a better plan than just fawning to comply to proposed laws that violate our human rights?

We are a non-profit, we rely on donations to run. We cut costs to the minimum with everything we do and over the years we have been so lucky to have the individuals, brands and companies that have supported us financially and continue to support us, but really they seem to be the exception to the larger Cannabis collective of people. Even when a large Cannabis Expo charging a whole lotta bucks for stands at their event don’t think to donate one to the organisation that changed the environment that allowed them the opportunity to seize in the first place, our Affiliates came through and sponsored one for us as well as costs involved to be there at all.

Jules was always one for seizing the day, and in no way am I negating nor begrudging the hard work each company and individual person is now doing for themselves and their brands in this emerging industry, but please don’t forget about the important stuff. The stuff you don’t want to do, but need to happen to be able to not live in fear of being raided and arrested by the police.

Some may question but what about hosting another D-Day to raise funds? Why not? Because D-Day was Jules. (NB not to undermine how big a role all the other team members played – they all know who they are and how grateful we all are to them and their passion that took D-Day from a Dagga dream into a reality.)

Honestly though, none of us has the funds, manpower, energy and with the current lack of support, motivation to even try to take on such an enormous undertaking. Do you know what it takes to throw a successful event like that? There are whole companies and careers that exist just for that, with huge teams that make events for thousands of people safe and successful. Jules and a small team pulled it off year after year and this was by no means most of their full time jobs. Jules convinced Metro JOCK to sign off. Jules convinced them to give permission to consume Cannabis on the premises. Jules meticulously listened to all the artist submissions and genuinely loved the process of putting on this event for the Cannabis community in South Africa (in between some huffs and puffs of course that come with logistics of throwing said event).

Jules risked his own beloved Jazzfarm that he bought from his hard earning busking money once upon a time, by bonding the farm to raise the money needed upfront to throw D-Day. He risked his home to throw the biggest Dagga Day Party he could. To celebrate stoners of all colours and creeds.

And how has he been repaid for his work? Being murdered next to his partner in bed, in the very same home, not even a free man but out of jail on bail – the price of R1000 will forever be hanging over his head.

What else did Fields of Green for ALL get for the almost decade of every day work that was in large part the reason we have the 2018 Privacy Judgement?

Cue a 2019 Cannabis Expo. Jules is away and Myrtle, Jo and Ami arrive home after the Cannabis Expo and are later that evening tied up and robbed at gunpoint.

Thankfully, not physically harmed but obviously the emotions that go with dealing with that kind of home invasion trauma don’t need to be delved into. Not to mention the proceeds raised at that Cannabis Expo were stolen too. Nice way to be rewarded for all the energy put into raising funds that are actually used to give back to the general and marginalised South African Cannabis community.

Fast forward a few months and Jules is alone in The Hotbox Studio thanks to Covid, and the Youtube live stream has just been switched off. In walk gunmen who proceed to steal the phones and laptops we use to film with. The crew on the other end of the Zoom that was still on; having to watch this happen and not be able to do anything other than call for help (and again who do you call for help? The police? Because they did not catch these guys nor have they lifted a finger to catch the guys that murdered Jules)

Fast forward to during the height of our Cannabis can Help SA campaign – where we all put in early mornings and long nights to make a big push to share the knowledge, to fight against ridiculous proposed laws and unicorn licenses. To not forget about the original Dagga Farmers.

I had my last conversation with Jules that Thursday night on The Hotbox Show, going over some stats from our campaign and it was such a high note seeing what can happen if the community at large supported and actively shared information, and seeing the efforts of the entire team and The Green Network and our Affiliates that it it did take to gain the traction we did. In usual Jules fashion, he thanked me for the work I had put in. Watching the footage now, it makes me cry as he really was one to always take the time to say thank you. If only the larger part of the South African Cannabis community could do the same by honoring his work and donating R49 a month to keep it going.

Jules had a high note himself meeting Steve D’Angelo and chatting with him on The Hotbox Show that same night. Jules went to bed wearing his Good People Disobey bad laws t-shirt from friends Zelena Alternativa in Macedonia.

Jules was murdered a few hours later. He was shot, in bed, next to Myrtle.

Now don’t take my next words out of context here – I am not implying that his murder was in anyway connected to Cannabis, the work he did or really being anything other than a result of the larger collapse of society thanks to our Governments mismanagement of, well everything.

But in his life story, that’s what he got for all the good he did. Everything he did for the Cannabis community in South Africa (and we can extend that to other South Africans because we all know what Cannabis trade in the economy could do for almost half the population that is currently unemployed.), and 2 years later, it’s like all the South African stoners are suffering from short term memory loss.

And what about Myrtle? I’ve avoided saying much on this yet, as I still can’t come to terms with how she actually carries on every day. None of us on the close crew really know what to say or do to fill the hole that Jules left and I think, 2 years later we are starting to come to terms with the fact that we never will. What Jules and Myrtle had was special. They dedicated every waking, breathing moment to this fight. No number of us team members could replace that and we have all had to really work hard to pick up the pieces and take on the responsibility that Myrtle and Jules were holding for all of us (yes you reading this too)

I find it hard to put into words how angry it makes me that everyone has just forgotten what she has done too. Everything Jules has done and more.

Imagine being in her shoes for a moment. What would you do? What would you do if you went through that and then had to watch as everyone else goes on with their lives, celebrating the judgement and industry that you pushed and worked so hard for, and literally having less than 100 South African stoners willing to even donate R49 a month to support and pay tribute to what got us here?

And you get to wakeup every day to fight the good fight, watch hundreds of clubs pop up, yet less than 5 even donate R49 a month per club, let alone, per member. We currently have 1, yes you read that right, 1 SAHPRA licensed facility that supports us.

Imagine logging onto Fields of Green for ALL or The Dagga Couples social media and you see post after post of Cannabis related businesses – all day, beautiful girls running giveaways of thousands of rands of products, brands left right and center sponsoring these prizes (PS girls we love you and how you contribute to breaking the stigma – especially those brave enough to put their faces out there, we see you… but please, share a link of ours with your promotions too?).

Fast forward to recent events and a ground breaking case with The Haze Club – an important one for their specific club model and in turn for the other club models in general, which is again, in turn important for all Cannabis consumers/ club members in the country.

And we have to scramble between our OG supporters to raise funds for the minimal manpower and equipment team to get to Cape Town and live stream the Haze Club Court Case. Who else was going to do it? Who else was willing to donate the time and energy and money to make it happen? Yet when we can’t process and upload the footage in 24hrs, suddenly people are all entitled to ask where it is? To complain about the audio quality, which we did do our best with, but setting up a live stream in a court with limited wifi and equipment adds external variables we aren’t in control of (we really do always do our best and have some very skilled experts on our team but they are not always available as we have lack of funds and they have full time jobs). I’m not writing this to be antagonistic, but please just a reminder to be cognisant of the fact that we are doing the best we can. Some people were very polite in asking about the footage and obviously we are always happy to answer questions, I’m just really trying to show you the other side of things here, from a behind the scenes perspective that you may not have considered.

Something has to be said about all this compliance talk. Imagine if Myrtle, Jules, Ras Prince and Jeremy Acton had just complied – i.e pay a bribe (of about 75k in Myrtle and Jules case but don’t quote me on that). By putting so much effort and energy into complying with laws that DONT EXIST and have already been rejected in Parliamentyou undermine the real fight. The real reason we have the progress we do with the privacy judgement. I get it, you are scared. You should be, because at any point if you are involved with the Cannabis plant directly, you could be arrested and become Ordinary Criminals, like Myrtle and Jules.

Do these hundreds of clubs tell you what to do if you are actually arrested or stopped in a road block with produce from said club? As a member what protection do you actually have? (That’s even if it’s a private club, there are many establishments that don’t even believe in stringent rules for the protection of their, well I guess they are just customers). Logistically – like in real life what is step 1, 2 or 3? As a member are you told what laws / non laws you can refer to? Are these links shared with you? A precedent set for warrants, an arrest circular and a police directive? Are you encouraged to read or watched the privacy judgement instead of relying on someone else to read the fine print for you? Why not just make it part of the membership to donate to Fields of Green for ALL so we can keep doing what we’re good at and clubs can focus on all the others things involved with making them run, whilst at the very least educating their members and doing what they can to protect and fight for their rights.

I know compliancy breeds a feeling of safety. But who wants to be the first to test that theory that it protects you somehow? How about being so adamant and just in your intentions of being a Cannabis pioneer that you don’t wait to be arrested – or if you do find yourself in that situation, how about you coordinate a civil society funded million Rand court case and sue several government departments so that a much needed economy boosting industry could be unlocked after decades of being slept on? Oh wait, that’s what Myrtle and Jules did.

South African citizens need to empower themselves with all the knowledge and stand up for their own rights. R49 a month to be a Green Network member means you can literally do nothing else and still say you had a part to play in writing South Africa’s Cannabis history, and for the good of South Africa’s people.

Is that really too much to ask? And if you still need validation that our work is important – how about the fact that it is recognised and supported by THE UNITED NATIONS? Am I starting to shout a little now? Maybe. We have ECOSOC status and if that doesn’t say something, or if I haven’t said something in this long post… then I don’t know, I really don’t know.

What would Jules do? I don’t think he would keep quiet about all this, so this is just my two cents, for what it’s worth.

Please donate, join The Green Network and share if you feel you can do more as a Cannabis user/ supporter/ brand/ company in South Africa.

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: Robyn Cameron

Entrepreneur | Web Dev & Design | UX | E-Commerce | Digital Brand Management & Strategy | Business Management | Musician | Flow Artist | Director @FieldsofGreenforALL.

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  1. lorraine July 5, 2022 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    thank you Sister for bringing this to the fore .. together we can achieve ..
    fence sitters beware . its time to pay the piper ..
    . HIGH HOLIDAZE #learnlaughexplore

  2. Micki Turnbull July 4, 2022 at 11:13 am - Reply

    Uuuuurgh you hit a few nerves!. We were all gung-ho to blaze the streets down outside the high court in Cape Town, right? I have introduced many people (and dogs, cats and horses) to the gift of the cannabis plant since that day. It has healed, cured, corrected, detoxified, stabilized (and SO much more . . .) many people around me; it gives new meaning to Quality of Life without drugs! With everything that 2020 brought with it, it was so easy to forget WHY I/we have this “right” to use the plant “freely” at home. I’m embarrassed to admit that because I had mine ( and we have educated cops here), it was easy to forget that it’s not so “rightfully free” . . . and there aren’t Fields of green for ALL yet. The fight goes on. Membership paid! RIP Jules.

    • Robyn Cameron July 5, 2022 at 10:43 am - Reply

      Thank you so so much for this comment and for signing up! Jules would be proud of your humbleness and taking action now.

  3. Leon July 4, 2022 at 4:55 am - Reply

    I can see the challenging position you are in. All the best on the way forwards. Our morals and perceptions guide the way to our future, and being the heralds of a better future doesnt come without setbacks or challenges!

    What would Jules do? I think Jules would not have allowed a lack of money to stop him from success.

    Make sure you guys are sound internally (and not using your positions to manipulate/defame others), and have faith that things will work out!

    • Robyn Cameron July 4, 2022 at 8:28 am - Reply

      Thanks for the comment! It definitely doesn’t come without it’s challenges, yet we continue despite them. Jules definitely didn’t let money stop him, like how he made DDay happen, he risked a huge amount. But the reality is that it takes money to sue the government. We can’t avoid that and the Cannabis community at large has a responsibility that they are not stepping up to.

      A little confused about the manipulate/defame comment – both are different things and I don’t think we’ve ever done anything but speak the truth, and called out manipulation with the industry players to tell it like it really is; sometimes to get backlash for it – but like I said, Jules was never one to mince his words, he had a saying, “you never have to remember anything if you tell the truth”, and the small community of committed supporters that are still here today are some of the most honest and genuine, good intentioned and good actioned people I know. No one is perfect and we all have our own personalities, as does any group of people that work together, and ‘scuse the pun, but it took a lot of watching and weeding out along the way to separate those in it for their own personal means vs those in it for the greater good of our country and her people. The thing is, the truth always comes out and as time goes on peoples intentions always become clear. Like you said, all we can do let our morals guide the future. Which is what started this fight and keeps us going, despite the challenges.

      Also, sometimes faith isn’t enough. Action is needed.

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