Dagga decriminalisation judgment set for Friday

2017-03-28 14:12
Outside the High Court in Cape Town (Jenni Evans, News24)

Outside the High Court in Cape Town (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - Judgment in the application to decriminalise dagga will be handed down in the Western Cape High Court on Friday.

Dagga Party leader Jeremy Acton and Rastafarian Garreth Prince argued on December 13 and 14 last year for the decriminalisation of the herb.

Acton, Prince, and 18 plaintiffs applied to the court for the Criminal Prohibition of Dagga Act (sections 4b and 5c), read with certain sections of Part III of Schedule 2 of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act, to be declared unconstitutional.

Those sections make it a crime to possess a drug, unless it is for a variety of medical reasons. The Drugs and Trafficking Act defines what constitutes a drug. 

They are also challenging the Medicines and Related Substances Act.

They submitted that the laws prohibiting dagga use are unfair, discriminatory, outdated, and applied disproportionately to black users.

The two have been helping people arrested for possession of dagga by obtaining a stay of prosecution, pending the outcome of their application. 

Prince was arrested for possession of dagga in 1989, while a law student at the University of the Western Cape.

He paid a R60 fine and though that was the end of it. When he graduated and applied to the Cape Bar to be admitted as an attorney, he was rejected because of the dagga conviction, and because he refused to apologise for it.

To Prince, using dagga was a religious choice as a Rastafarian. He unsuccessfully brought an application to the Constitutional Court to have it decriminalised for religious purposes.

He became a community legal adviser, but was arrested again in 2012 for growing dagga in his garden in Kraaifontein.

His case was among those stayed, pending the judgment on Friday. 

Read more on:    cape town  |  marijuana
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