The Battle for Bophelo: Lawfare Looms Over Controversial Liquidation of Lesotho Flagship Cannabis Company
Brett Hilton Barber
The aim is to permit the collective exercise of rights, such as a community garden, grow club etc
Judgement has been reserved in the The Haze Club’s (THC) application to the Cape High Court to have the legality of Private Cannabis Clubs (PCC’s) legally recognized once and for all.
The application was lodged by THC director Neil Liddell, represented by Andrew MacPherson of Ward Brink Attorneys, with the State tabling its opposition, backed up by an affidavit by Senior State Law Advisor Sarel Robbertse . The Cape High Court heard the matter on 6 June 2022 after lengthy delays and Robbertse’s dramatic last-minute turnaround that he believed there may be legal value in PCC’s after all.
Arguments were made by both parties and Judge Maud Slingers reserved judgement. MacPherson told Cannabiz Africa afterwards that the process was “just at the beginning” and that it could be months before final resolution.
In an exclusive interview with Luke Daniel of Business Insider, Liddell said the State was “arguing that THC does not operate in a private space. They say because the public can join, therefore it’s a public space. Really, what they are saying is [that] you are not allowed to grow cannabis on behalf of someone else.”
“This court action takes the 2018 (Constitutional Court/Prince 3 Ruling) judgment and tries to take it a step further. If I can grow/use cannabis myself, then such a right should be capable of collective exercise,” Liddell’s legal counsel, Andrew MacPherson, told Business Insider.
“The aim is to permit the collective exercise of rights, such as a community garden, grow club etc, on the basis that not every person has the socioeconomic status to participate in a law of general application like that created by Prince 3”.
Whichever way the THC ruling goes, either side is likely to appeal, added MacPherson.
Should Liddell be successful in his bid, he warns that restarting THC will not be a simple nor quick undertaking for reasons beyond the State’s likelihood to appeal, adding to an already lengthy legal fight.
“In the event that we are allowed to operate, and we win this case, we’d have to request from the courts that SAPS hand back our equipment,” Liddell told Business Insider
“But the way that they [the police] tore it down, it’s sensitive grow equipment and LED lights, it was all thrown around and around smashed, so we don’t know what’s going to be left at the end of the day.”