The State has not withdrawn its case against South Africa’s “Dagga Couple” in what has become known as South Africa’s ‘Trial of the Plant’.
This is despite the fact that:
- The case ultimately leading to the Constitutional Court ruling in September 2018 that the personal consumption of cannabis is not illegal, and
- Julian Stobbs of the “Dagga Couple” was murdered in an armed robbery at their Lanseria smallholding on 3 July 2020.
His partner, Myrtle Clarke, remains out on R1 000 bail, pending the outcome of the court case.
Clarke: still out on bail for the “Trial of the Plant’
Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke, became known as the “Dagga Couple” after their 2010 arrest at their Lanseria smallholding for growing and possessing cannabis. They were then instrumental in setting up the activist network, Fields of Green For All (FGFA) which has spearheaded cannabis reform in South Africa for the past decade, snowballing into a broader human rights-orientated movement.
Stobbs and Clarke at their original 2010 court appearance.
Incredibly, despite the fact that government is in the process of decriminalizing cannabis according to its draft National Cannabis Master Plan (NCMP), the “Trial of the Plant” as the proceedings against the “Dagga Couple” has become known, is still on the cards for later this year.
What makes the state’s refusal to withdraw the charges even more cynical, is that Stobb’s was murdered last year during an armed robbery at the couple’s home.
Myrtle Clarke confirmed to Cannabiz Africa on 9 May 2021: “The’Trial of the Plant’ is still very much on the cards. I am still out on R1 000 bail and there are over 100 cases “in the queue” behind me – cases that got stays in prosecution pending the outcome of our trial.”
At the FGFA Manifesto launch on 20 April 2021, Clarke, who paid tribute to the informal legalization network that was developing, said that unless the government adopted a policy similar to the FGFA, cannabis reform was dead in the water.
“I sincerely hope that we don’t have to go back to court, but if the government doesn’t take into account the issues raised in this manifesto, it’s back to Pretoria we go”.