‘Legalise dagga’ group to join walk

2011-08-05 00:00

SMOKING weed while watching TV and eating a box of chocolate biscuits is not what many advocates of marijuana are about. Some are trying to create awareness of its benefits and to legalise cannabis for its medicinal properties to help treat a variety of illnesses and disorders, chiefly cancer.

The South African chapter of the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Norml ZA) is holding its second walk for cancer. Its members have already taken part in the 702 Walk the Talk event and are walking four kilometres backwards at Sunday’s e.tv cancer walk at Zoo Lake in Johannesburg.

They are walking backwards to “take things back to normal”, said the organisation’s community outreach director, Imiël Visser.

Part of a non-profit international organisation, the South African chapter wants the country to “join the rest of the scientifically enlightened world and legalise” the narcotic herb.

Visser, who hurt his back a few years ago, began using marijuana after Schedule 5 painkillers gave him no comfort. He found he could “constructively use it in his life” and it relieved his pain.

He and director Chris Jonsson began the local chapter in 2008. The two of them with a communications manager and a host of volunteers drive the chapter. Visser said “people almost stand on their knees” to help.

Norml ZA advocates the decriminalisation and legalisation of the plant for adults’ personal use, but their current focus is on its medicinal properties. Doctors cannot openly prescribe marijuana for patients because they could lose their licence.

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