Dagga couple crowdfunds experts for 'Trial of the Plant'

2015-10-30 16:13
	Police have swooped on a warehouse in Milnerton, Cape Town, arresting two suspects, and seizing dagga and equipment with an estimated street value of R20m. (SAPS)

Police have swooped on a warehouse in Milnerton, Cape Town, arresting two suspects, and seizing dagga and equipment with an estimated street value of R20m. (SAPS)

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Johannesburg - The so-called "dagga couple" are asking people to take a deep breath and help raise funds to bring international experts to testify in a possible landmark case on laws relating to the plant. 

Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke are looking to reach an $80 000 (R1.1m) goal on the Indiegogo platform to bring cannabis experts to testify in what they call the "Trial of the Plant" at the High Court in Pretoria in March next year. 

More than $4 000 (R55 280) had been raised by Friday evening, four days after the couple started the campaign, and there were only 39 days left to raise the amount. 

"The Trial of the Plant starts in the high court, where the judges will decide on the constitutionality of the matter. All evidence is heard in the high court. From there we go to the highest court in the land, the South African Constitutional Court," they say on the campaign's page. 

"Once the Constitutional Court has declared the laws unlawful (yes, we are very positive), we intend taking our case all the way to the International Court of Human Rights - taking every government in the world to task on this issue - so this plant never has to be put on trial again, anywhere in the world."

'We assure you a place in history'

They say they have a list of international expert witnesses - including criminologists, sociologists, toxicologists and neuropsychopharmacologists - who are willing to come to South Africa and testify in court. 

"Your contributions will assist us to fly these busy professionals from the USA and Europe and accommodate them for the duration of the trial," they say. 

"The South African rand is the weakest it has ever been against the US dollar and our experts are all dollar-based. This is primarily why we require your assistance in dollars.

"We have compiled an interesting list of perks to express our gratitude for your donation. Changing the cannabis laws in South Africa will have a worldwide impact and we assure you a place in history according to which perk you choose."

The lowest contribution one can make is $5 (R69.15), which guarantees  "your very own green leaf on our Cannabis Freedom Tree". This was a digital tree the couple were building as the campaign grew and a contributor would receive a high resolution photograph of a hand-painted collective tree once the campaign was over. 

A $100 (R1 383) mid-level contribution secured the donor a dagga couple supporters pack containing "a funky T-shirt and other goodies", as well as a gold bud on their Cannabis Freedom Tree.

'Shout it loud across the mountains and valleys'

The highest donation one can make is $1 000 (R13 830) and the perks were a two-night "getaway" to the couple's farm on the outskirts of Johannesburg. "Get to know the folk behind the campaign and enjoy Myrtle's famous cooking!" they say. 

Stobbs and Clarke were arrested in 2010 at their home for possession of dagga. The high court hearing follows several appearances in court over the incident. 

The couple, who run the non-profit company Fields of Green for All, urged people to pass the message of donating to everyone they met. 

"Shout it loud across the mountains and valleys, across the deserts and plains and far out to sea! Let's talk about getting rid of the last apartheid law until the message is ringing in the whole world's ears!"

Read more on:    pretoria  |  drugs

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