However, it’s deeper than that: it all has to do with the concept of “cannabis at home’ – that space that you are constitutionally allowed to do with marijuana whatever you so deem fit.
Guy Oliver warned in the Mail and Guardian a year ago that South Africa’s proposed cannabis laws paid more homage to former East Germany’s Stasi secret police than a celebration of South Africa’s human-rights-orientated Constitution.
He wrote: “The cannabis “legalisation” laws are from the literary traditions of the Covid-19 lockdown authors: byzantine regulations laced with marijuana prejudice from an ageing, analogue mindset coated in monotheism’s righteous lickspittle. In The Beyond Parody Age, the regulations are a souvenir for the times. “Legalisation” paints broad legal grey areas codifying police corruption perks offered from the marijuana community and reveals the government’s reluctance to ride a billion-dollar global cannabis wave tailor-made for the country’s climate”.
Oliver quoted cannabis author Kelly McQue, who has strong views on South African cannabis reform: “The pharmaceutical companies and government are working together to restrict our access [to cannabis],” McQue says. “It’s malicious compliance” to the 2018 court ruling for marijuana’s legal private use.
“The Constitutional Court did not put limitations on privacy,” she says. “I don’t see how putting these very strict restrictions is going to promote my right to privacy.
“It’s going to allow the police more access to my home,” the KwaZulu-Natal based author says. “They are keeping us in the illegal area.”
Her book published last year, At Home with Cannabis is, at face-value, a recipe book for homegrown remedies. It’s a comprehensive guide to manufacturing and administering affordable medical marijuana treatments from acne to soothing nerve pains, through to cancers and insomnia.
Kelly McQue’s At Home with Cannabis is, at face-value, a recipe book for homegrown remedies. (Penguin Random House).
But as Oliver writes, in its essence, the book is an act of sedition against high-priced corporate medicine enabled by a governing party obsessed with piles of cash and brown paper bags.
“The pharmaceutical companies are very much about one-size-fits-all and extract specific properties from the plant and give it to you in specific doses. It’s a very different model to the more natural approach,” McQue says. She prefaces the book’s medical marijuana production instructions, and processes for a variety of infusions, tinctures and remedies, documenting her successful breast-cancer therapy using the natural medicine.
Treatments for “extreme nerve damage pain needs higher doses” than “someone needing to sleep better. To limit it at all is to infringe on a person’s right to use cannabis,” McQue says. “We need to be very careful in placing our trust in government regarding cannabis.”
As Oliver sums it up: “The fate of medical marijuana is the opening skirmish on a contested terrain between cannabis culture and a government’s corporate tryst to throttle an industry not in its image”.