To tokers, Tuesday’s Constitutional Court ruling decriminalising dagga for private use said it all. They celebrated the best way they know – by getting stoned.
The highest court in the country ruled that adults could smoke marijuana freely at home, in private, but not in front of the kids.
For some, decriminalising the use of dagga in one’s private space is just another law. For others who have been advocating it, it is a major achievement.
“This is by far the greatest news ever. When I woke up to the news that I can smoke dagga freely and not feel like I am imprisoned, I was liberated. We have achieved a lot. And the fact that there is no amount of it specified is even greater. So, we can plant as much dagga as we want and use it for our own personal use,” said activist Julian Stobbs, who, along with Myrtle Clarke, makes up the Dagga Couple.
“Although this is the beginning of the great achievement, Parliament needs to start making amendments to the law,” added Stobbs.
“We need answers in terms of understanding what is going to happen with those who have been arrested. Will they get to come out and smoke the freedom and get high with the rest of us? As we always ask: Where is the crime? What is the charge?”
Mahlatse Nkoana also believes it’s about time dagga was legalised.
“By profession I am a forex trader, but on the street people know me as ‘snyman’ [dagga dealer],” he said.
“I am very excited about the freedom they gave us, even though it comes with terms and conditions. Although the new rule does not say much, I can continue smoking my dagga freely, doing my business in peace without being bothered by any police officer,” he said, adding a healthy sales pitch on how smoking weed “awakens” his “creative side”.
But before you rush out and start growing a dagga plantation in your own back yard, remember that it may not be for everyone. City Press gathered stories from those in the know about their experiences of smoking weed for the first time.
Xhanti Gelese (27), electrician
My first experience was when I was in my second year and I had a roommate who decided to buy weed that day. I had just made supper. We ate and smoked. I started coughing and having weird feelings.
Everything just became clearer. I really felt one with the universe. It became weird and I started becoming hungry. We had just had supper, but we were both hungry and had an entire loaf of bread and peanut butter.
As we were eating, we could literally feel the food go down the tummy. I was like, okay now, I can literally feel the entire procedure of food going past my throat, my stomach, etc.
And then our neighbour came and asked why we were eating bread and peanut butter at this time. We just started laughing, to the point where it hurt to laugh; with every sentence we would laugh. Everything about her was funny, from her face to how she spoke.
I guess the greener you go, the higher it gets. The stories are hilarious. It’s going to get very interesting.
Nkabinde (30), maths and statistics lecturer
My first experience was at the age of 23. I went out with a colleague. We had a few drinks, then he said we should pass by his place before I headed home.
We got there and his girlfriend was there. She rolled a joint and told me to light it up. I didn’t want her to think I was boring, so I did. A few minutes after we were done smoking I started feeling a bit weird, staring at everything and everyone and getting a little paranoid.
My imagination was working overtime and I was picturing all kinds of weird things. I thought I heard them speaking in some kind of code and at that point, I thought they were serial killers discussing how they would kill me and hide my body. I got up and left.
Onthatile (22), media and journalism student
Mine was a disgusting experience. Dagga doesn’t make me high; instead, it serves as a cleansing herb in my system.
My first experience was at a party. I was drinking and smoking weed. Then a few minutes after smoking and being tipsy, I just started having stomach aches and from there I had a runny tummy and was vomiting at the same time. I smoked dagga a second time and it still caused me to have a runny tummy.
Joe (28), banker
I was still studying and working to earn a livelihood at an art gallery when an old man, who was a regular at the gallery, came. He had a joint on him, but that was hardcore stuff, potent.
I was feeling hot everywhere and I wanted to be calm but I couldn’t.
It felt like everything was messing me up from all sides and harassing me. That experience made me realise that weed has levels.
The old man had a high tolerance for it and I didn’t at the time. I even left work early. I really couldn’t cope; I felt like I was in pieces.