By Robyn Cameron, Fields of Green For All.
First published on FGFA 14 February 2022
14th February. A bittersweet day for The Dagga Couple, as it marks one of the historical moments in South Africa’s journey to Cannabis legalisation – today is 11 years since Myrtle Clarke and Julian Stobbs first appeared in the Krugersdorp Magistrates Court for Cannabis charges.
What makes it more bitter than sweet though, is the fact that whilst Jules’s murderers are free with no worry of the police ever doing anything to catch them, Myrtle only remains out of jail on bail. She also has to face this day, and every other day continuing the fight her and Jules started – to stop the police harassing ordinary South Africans for Dagga, to free the entire plant for ALL – without him.
If this isn’t a clear indication of the double standards in this country and the true state of disaster we are in, I don’t know what is. It seems our collective trauma bonded relationship with our President is getting the better of… well, our better judgement.
Sorry to be the sombre note on the eloquently executed speech of President Ramaphosa regarding Cannabis in South Africa in 2022… but at some point we have to look to actions and not words. Is what Cyril said all that different from 3 years ago? Or is there a reason why I’m having a bad case of deja vu?
Time will tell …. we wrote this article 3 years ago – Myrtle spoke at the United Nations 3 years ago (see post from our social media below), yet we still have the police arresting people on Cannabis charges. Every. Single. Day.
There is a reason Fields of Green for ALL were granted ECOSOC status from the UN for our continuing work, because we are STILL fighting against gross human rights violations.
With all the propaganda from the media, and misleading broken-telephone justifications (ahem, SAHPRA licenses – trying to tout the legality of what corporates and government are doing in the current Cannabis space in South Africa, when they are based on no actual physical laws… ahem government – why are we still waiting?) being congratulated in social small talk… the realities are the same.
Double standards – with the traditional communities and stakeholders (read people without the money) being sidelined and dragged under the rug, all right in front of the face of what seems to be, for the most part, a slightly misinformed Cannabis community, including the rapidly emerging Cannabis entrepreneurs – all vying to be the first. The biggest. The best. They mean well… right? They should have equal opportunity right (ahem, government)? That’s fair, right? Sure, but if they choose to be wilfully ignorant of the legacy people of the plant’s plights… my empathy wears thin.
If you want to be a Cannabis cowboy in 2022, then be sure you can defend your territory in a court of law, (or at the very least to just a common Cannabis user asking questions). The Hawks are circling…don’t rest on your laurels.
Slide between the pics below to see the clear disparities and cognitive dissonance that is the current Cannabis climate in South Africa:
Pic 1 screenshot from eNCA
Pic 2 screenshot from IOL
If one feels so entitled to boast about your big moves in the industry – put your money where your mouth is and contribute to free and fair legalisation for ALL South Africans. Or are you ok with being one of the exclusive few while your fellow South Africans suffer?
Corporate Social Responsibility from Cannabis companies (and this includes the auxillary support industries) should be a priority!
Progress is good. Yes. We are all for progress. But what definition of progress are you pushing? One where it’s ok for legacy communities to suffer, for people to be harassed by the police, yet those with privilege (yes, privilege – even if you worked for it, doesn’t mean you don’t have it) have doors opened for them? Many of those who had no active part in fighting the last decade for our sovereignty as Cannabis growers and consumers?
The bright shiny new South Africa of green opportunity after Cyril’s SONA speech doesn’t exist. Yet. Listen to more on this from our Director and Founder Myrtle Clarke in this podcast on Cape Talk with Lester Kiewet (following on a similar conversation from… you guessed it – 3 years ago!):
We need more South Africans to look past the shrouded mists of misinformation. (yes I said South Africans, because these are human rights violations which all South Africans should be aware of, not just Cannabis users).
More awareness on the fact that whilst #CannabisCanHelpSouthAfrica, it won’t. Not if this is how the Cannabis industry is going to be. And guess what – we as a community have a responsibility to be educated and ask questions, to hold government accountable for their double standards. Why fast-track questionable deals on questionable licenses whilst ignoring the current and ongoing harms to society caused by, to put it bluntly, the government just not being able to get their act together.
We need to hold ourselves accountable too. Do you support your local community club? Do you #knowyourdaggafarmer? Do you grow your own? Do we really need big scale ops to be more important than STOPPING the arrests for Cannabis? Does one mean the other can’t be done concurrently? Not the way government is currently doing it. Not the way corporate is doing it. It is possible, just not looking that probable right now.
Cannabis in South Africa – The People’s Plant. Everyone’s plant. Not just a select few.
How should fully legal Cannabis in South Africa be? We wrote the book, presented it to government, had a member recommend it even! What more do they need? Download the full Manifesto here, for free —> Cannabis in South Africa – The People’s Plant | A Full Spectrum Manifesto for Policy Reform
Let’s hope there are some actions behind those sweet sweet like the sensimilla herb words Mr President. We even wrote you a love letter years ago too, but you didn’t respond
PS The petition is closed and we have over 37 000 South African citizens ready to have their voice submitted as evidence in court. But it doesn’t have to come to that – stop talking at us, Mr President, starting talking to us.
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About the Author: Robyn Cameron
Entrepreneur | Web Dev & Design | UX | E-Commerce | Digital Brand Management & Strategy | Business Management | Musician | Flow Artist | Director @FieldsofGreenforALL.