Pubdate: Wed, 05 May 2004
Source: Cape Times (South Africa)
Copyright: 2004 Cape Times
Note: By South Africa Press Association
Bookmark: (Hemp - Outside U.S.)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Popular)


A group of about 150 Capetonians, waving posters proclaiming "Cannabis
can make petrol and paper", "Go Green" and "Grow with the flow",
marched to the gates of parliament on Saturday, calling for the
legalisation of dagga.

The marchers released about a dozen green balloons with alien faces
drawn on them. They flew over the wall and into the grounds of the
parliamentary complex and were gathered up by police.

The organisers said the march was intended to highlight "the many uses
of the plant cannabis", including applications in the agricultural,
building and health sectors.

Organiser Andre du Plessis said cannabis, or dagga, "is not only about

"There are more than a thousand other historically documented uses for
this plant, going back thousands of years. More applications are found

"These go across the board, and if we tackle this issue wisely, we can
help solve a lot of South Africa's social and health problems.

"We cannot any longer ignore this plant simply because of its
historical association with the drug problem," he said.

Du Plessis, an IT engineer, said it was clear from television and
newspaper reports there was a thriving rural agricultural cannabis
market in SA.

"This market, although illegal, has been in existence for at least 15
years," he said.

Two marchers tried to hand a petition - titled "The Importance of
cannabis as an industrial resource" - to the police but they refused
to accept it, saying parliament was closed at weekends. "See, I told
you we should have done this on Friday," one marcher said to the other.

The whole group dispersed soon after while police tried to fit the
balloons into the back of a squad car. It was unclear what they
planned to do with them. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake