Man’s bid to legalise dagga

2015-03-10 00:00

A HOWICK man wants the Constitutional Court to uphold the rights of all South Africans to use dagga.

John Lawrence Strydom (44) — against whom criminal charges of illegally possessing and cultivating dagga were recently provisionally withdrawn — said in an affidavit before the high court yesterday he wants to “destigmatise” the word dagga and “give the dagga plant its original name and rightful place in society” for the benefit of all the country’s citizens.

Strydom says he has been “eating and smoking” dagga for 28 years “without harm” to himself.

His comments were made when he applied to the high court to have his criminal case in the Howick ­magistrate’s court stayed pending finalisation of a Constitutional Court challenge against the Drugs and Trafficking Act and Medicines and Related Substances Act, and to declare the prohibition of dagga use to be a violation of South Africa’s Bill of Rights.

However, Acting Judge Piet Bezuidenhout yesterday adjourned the matter sine die (indefinitely) after the criminal charges were provisionally withdrawn against Strydom.

He was told if the charges are re-instated he should apply to the magistrate’s court for a stay of prosecution, and then pursue his Constitutional Court case.

Strydom, of Freelands Farm, said he is a member of Iqela Lentsango (The Dagga Party of South Africa), which is a registered national political party.

“I am dedicated to building a culture and spirituality that is centred upon the dagga tree as a direct personal access to communion with the Creator, without the need for membership or formal religious structures and their prescriptions,” he said in his affidavit.

Strydom said he has been using dagga for 28 years for its “known medicinal benefits and as part of my own personal spiritual beliefs and practices”.

He said he makes medicine from the plant extract for his own health ­“issues” and when necessary “to share freely” with terminally ill people who rely on dagga medicine to survive or have some quality of life.

He said dagga seeds are not narcotic. They contain up to 24% protein and all amino acids necessary for human nutrition, he maintains.

He alleges that dagga (botanical name being cannabis), is “only prohibited because it cannot be patented and because it is estimated that pharmaceutical corporations would lose millions in revenue should the public insist on their rights to access cannabis for purposes of self medication”.

Strydom was arrested and charged last November after police raided his farm in response to a tip-off. Dagga worth R663 000 was reportedly seized.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.