Jules Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke (dubbed ‘The Dagga Couple’ by the South African press) are leading the charge on what they call on their website, “the first ever legal challenge for the re-legalization of cannabis in South Africa…based on Human Rights as reflected in the Bill of Rights, enshrined in the SA Constitution”.
Regardless of individual positions on the subject, there is no doubt that marijuana is a contentious issue in society – especially amongst students. And the legality debate is one that is not unique to South Africa – it is one that rages across the world. From Johannesburg to Amsterdam to California, we find differing positions on the cannabis plant, that receive varying degrees of support throughout the world.
Arguments for the legalisation of marijuana are not new to the discourse of the world – they rage everywhere from residence lunch tables to Churches, and have raged there for years, but this time it is different. Jules and Myrtle are not just two hippies with a bong calling for something that sounds nice – they are boldly stepping out and calling to the highest Court in the land to hear their voice.
This is all the more impressive when one considers the South Africa legal and political system, which separates the powers of the Courts and the government – effectively meaning that the highest Court in the land, is the highest authority in the land (the Court had the power to overrule government’s decision regarding the distribution of ARV’s a few years back). And the Constitutional Court is governed by one of the most revered legal documents in the world – the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996. Although people generally think that South Africa is sub-standard, the legal world holds immense respect for the South African Constitution – considered one of the most thorough recognised human rights documents in the world. If marijuana were to be legalized on the basis of such a revered document, it would set a telling precedent throughout the world, no doubt.
The Dagga Couple are delivering the next set of documents to the Pretoria High Court on 12 October. Regardless of one’s position on the subject, as South African citizens we have a responsibility to be well informed (also, a bit of controversy is always fun).
Varsity View wants to hear your view! Drop a comment below and let’s see what people have to say about this contentious issue.