Meet Jules and Myrtle, a couple from South Africa affectionately dubbed: “The Dagga Couple”. Jules and Myrtle are about to face off with South Africa’s highest court in what has been labelled: The trial of the plant. Opposing the system of prohibition, Jules and Myrtle elevated their personal criminal case to expose the flawed logic of cannabis prohibition, especially under South Africa’s constitution.
It all began with a police raid on a quiet home on the outskirts of town. Dragging the two through the criminal justice system, the police began realising the impact of their arrest. Jules and Myrtle had decided to use their own case to challenge the laws of prohibition. Following due procedure, the couple began making headways in the judiciary system and before most people cared to notice, a constitutional appeal was granted.
The importance of this was only really realised when Fields of Green for All, a non-profit organisation started by the two, announced a successful stay of prosecution on the basis of their constitutional appeal. This meant that any cannabis related charge, could be postponed pending the outcome of the constitutional appeal.
And then the wall began tumbling.
Marching through the streets of major cities, cannabis activists and enthusiasts could be seen supporting the end of cannabis prohibition and annual events began to root in the community. Jules and Myrtle are no fools and knew the cost of such an undertaking would be enormous, one that no one person could be expected to field. Organising fundraising events and community awareness became the couple’s life. Abandoning their life as they knew it, the couple dedicated every day to the cause.This might be old news to many, but judgement day is almost upon us (them) and legal weed may be a reality in
the not so distant future.
This case is set to be one of the most comprehensive defenses of cannabis legalisation and very may well set an international standard.
Myrtle and Jules are opposing prohibition in its entirety and proposing absolute legality of the plant, for all its’ uses. In contrast to the recent Western Cape ruling, the Dagga Couple’s case is expertly prepared as well as represented through attorneys at law. Seeking reform and full legalisation, the couple is presenting an alternative to the current laws as well as a prospective solution to the prohibitive laws. Drawing on expert witnesses, again in direct contrast with Acton’s case, the couple are playing to win.
The most significant thing about this case is the validity of the entire thing. Instead of a simple court-room tantrum, the couple has followed all due procedures and protocols. Their case is to be witnessed by international experts and their legal team has been working on this case for years. This case is set to be one of the most comprehensive defenses of cannabis legalisation and very may well set an international standard.
Their case is to be witnessed by international experts and their legal team has been working on this case for years.
So who are we actually relying on here? Most of us are familiar with Tony Budden, Jules, Myrtle and associated activists. But what of the heavyweights? Who are the actual experts we so freely refer to?
To silence the mutton it is only necessary to drop one name:
Dr. Donald Abrams.
A man with well over a hundred publications, a 30 page resume and multiple degrees, Dr. Abrams has defended the use of medicinal cannabis all over the world. He is the chief of the Hematology-Oncology Division at San Francisco General Hospital and a Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. Essentially Dr. Abrams is THE Dr. to have defending the plant, his credentials are flawless and his reputation precedes.
In a country where we rank/fund our researchers according to their international accomplishments (NRF rating), it should stand to reason that Dr. Abrams’ evidence should hold far more weight than any local Dr.
For those still not convinced, Professor Nutt will be joining the fray. Yes, Professor. Not Dr. Not PHd. Professor. Again we find the witness holds high level qualifications, easily comparable if not better than local standards. (How high do our universities rank on the international scale?) And so “a neuropsychopharmacologist specialising in the research of drugs that affect the brain and conditions such as addiction, anxiety and sleep” should prove a fair match to the state’s Doctors.
Departing from the medical setting, the couple are presenting a wide array of evidence for all aspects of their argument. Dr. Simon Howell, a Capetonian criminology researcher is expected to testify. With a doctorate in political philosophy, Dr. Howell specialises in crime and gang culture and is in the couple’s corner, promoting the end of prohibition.
Other witnesses to appear include; Vladislav Lakcevic, an “Analytical Strategy Development Professional who specialises in economic studies across Africa.”, Craig Paterson, who has been “researching the history of the Cannabis plant in Southern Africa and used some of that work as a part of his MA thesis.” which became a major part of the couple’s founding affidavit. We can also expect an appearance from Quintin Van Kerken has been “called as an expert specifically in regard to his two seminal papers addressing the cost of keeping Cannabis illegal. “At What Cost? The Futility of the War on Drugs in South Africa” (2013) and “At What Cost 2.0 – All Rands and No Sense” (2016), amongst others, give insight into the skewed economics of prohibition.”
Of course we can expect appearances from the couple, Jules and Myrtle are expected to take the stand in and provide testimony for their own case. Perhaps the most astute and accurate account of cannabis prohibition, legalisation and the effects it has on society.
Opposing the witnesses provided by the plaintiffs, the state is being backed by Doctors for Life as well as two doctors: Dr Shabir Banoo and Dr David Bayever. Both are qualified pharmacologists, both are anti-legalisation and both seem to be ignorant to the point of embarrassment. Should you wish to find out more about these witnesses, we suggest doing so on your own time. Character assassination is not the point of this article and those opposing the case are only demonstrating their own poverty of thought.
It is highly unlikely that the couple will lose this case.
So what are we (they) fighting for? Well for one, no licensing for cultivation and no restriction on adult consumption. Every South African adult should be allowed to consume, grow and process cannabis, as most other plants. The couple are requesting a complete overhaul of the current laws and a legislated and legal framework to be instituted to govern commercial sales and production. Following this, the law is then expected to purge all of its’ cannabis related convictions and expunge countless records, after all this is a matter of human rights. This is a fight for Fields of Green for All.
This case will open up all sectors of cannabis use should it be successful. Everything from medical to recreational will be accounted for. The couple are providing a framework or proposed amendment to the current laws and it is rumoured we could see legislation similar to that of the tobacco market. You can bet the corporate world will be chasing the dollars and the consumer ultimately will pay the price the market dictates, but if Jules and Myrtle have anything to do with it, you can bet there will be a fighting chance for people like you and I.
At this point in time losing is not an option. It is highly unlikely that the couple will lose this case. Their evidence is simply too strong, their momentum too great and prohibition is quickly becoming a thing of the past. It would be poor form to even discuss the possibility of a loss. Thinking in such veins is nothing short of treacherous and won’t be tolerated in this court.
It would be fair to say that the Dagga Couple are the epitome of the legalisation debate. Two people giving up their entire life to battle a legal mountain on behalf of 50 million others. Jules and Myrtle are prime examples of the innocence of cannabis. After all, if weed were so bad, how could Jules and Myrtle have elevated their case, argument and movement to such a dizzy height?
No, the truth is that the Dagga Couple represent everything that is right and pure about cannabis. These two people haven’t whined, bribed, conned or berated. Instead as two exceptionally able members of society, despite their choice in substance, they are able to stand before the highest court in our country and present one of the world’s greatest defenses of cannabis. Not for their own case. Not for their company or profit. For every citizen of South Africa. For every human in South Africa. A remarkable achievement in dark days and one to be revered eternally.
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