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'Commercialising recreational use of dagga by adults is a human rights issue'

17 February 2020 10:38 AM
Tags:
Dagga
Tito Mboweni
Human Rights
Dagga legalisation
myrtle clarke
Dagga couple
hemp
dagga decriminalisation
medicinal dagga
dagga farming
dagga commercialisation
dagga industry
Lester Kiewit
2020 Sona
2020 State of the Nation Address
recreational dagga
“It’s a human rights violation. We've been persecuted under a law without evidence,” says Myrtle Clarke (Dagga Couple).

On Thursday during his State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that Government will loosen restrictions on hemp and dagga to allow for commercialisation, specifically mentioning “cannabis products for medicinal purposes” and the building of a dagga industry “in line with global trends”.

Old man holds a dagga joint. Image: 123rf.com

The value of worldwide sales of legal dagga is set to reach more than R1 trillion by 2027, according to US market research firm Grand View Research.

In the US, according to Grand View Research, medical dagga holds 71% of the legal dagga market.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni wants to fully commercialise – and tax - the dagga industry much like in the US and Canada where you can invest in dagga on the stock exchange.

Legal dagga’s share of Canada’s economy is growing faster than that of every other major industry, according to Statistics Canada.

Legal dagga production grew at 15% year-on-year and added R82 billion to Canada’s GDP in November 2019 (the last month for which data is available).

Lester Kiewit asked Myrtle Clarke (one half of the “Dagga Couple”) to explain the likely implications of Ramaphosa’s announcement.

The Dagga Couple was instrumental in the legalisation of the use and cultivation of dagga for private use.

An incredibly positive move! When we started this battle 10 years ago, we couldn’t even imagine the President inducing cannabis in any State of the Nation Address… it’s amazing!

Myrtle Clarke, Dagga Couple

Cannabis is not the cure for all South Africa’s economic woes… We must guard against overselling this… We must make regulations that are for all South Africans… that’s why it was good that the President mentioned the upliftment of small farmers… But how is that going to happen?

Myrtle Clarke, Dagga Couple

He only spoke about hemp and medicinal cannabis… [but] we’re not sick and we don’t want to make socks!

Myrtle Clarke, Dagga Couple

Why did he not mention adult [recreational] use? … When it comes to adult use, we’re dealing with the last apartheid law… people have been persecuted for the last 100 years… It’s a human rights violation that we have been persecuted under a law that does not have any evidence…

Myrtle Clarke, Dagga Couple

It [dagga regulation] is much more complicated than the Government makes out… none of the 22 Government departments [involved in regulating dagga] knows anything about cannabis…

Myrtle Clarke, Dagga Couple

Listen to the interview in the audio below.

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17 February 2020 10:38 AM
Tags:
Dagga
Tito Mboweni
Human Rights
Dagga legalisation
myrtle clarke
Dagga couple
hemp
dagga decriminalisation
medicinal dagga
dagga farming
dagga commercialisation
dagga industry
Lester Kiewit
2020 Sona
2020 State of the Nation Address
recreational dagga

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