Pubdate: Sun, 25 Oct 2015
Source: Times, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2015 AVUSA, Inc.
Author: Suthentira Govender


Making Substances Illegal 'Cedes Control to the Drug Dealers'

SOUTH Africans growing dagga in their gardens would help destroy the 
illegal market and the cartels that control it.

This is what Durban chef Christian Baker told the High Court in 
Pietermaritzburg this week in a bid to have his prosecution on a 
drug-related charge stayed.

He intends challenging the constitutionality of provisions in the 
Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act.

The court granted a postponement of the trial and ordered Baker to 
institute his case within 60 days or have the criminal charge reinstated.

The 23-year-old Durban North man, who lights up daily and eats dagga 
seeds as a health supplement, appeared in the Phoenix Magistrate's 
Court following his arrest in May.

Baker, a member of the Dagga Party of South Africa, refused to accept 
his prosecution and turned to a higher court.

He pleaded not guilty to the possession charge, claiming it was not 
"morally possible" to admit to any crime when there is "no apparent 
victim of the alleged crime and it can and will be shown in defence 
that the law against dagga is unjust and unjustifiable".

He intends approaching the Constitutional Court to have certain parts 
of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act and the Medicines and Related 
Substances Control Act declared to be in violation of the Bill of Rights.

Baker told the court that making substances illegal "cedes their 
control to the drug dealers", proposing that consumers grow their own stash.

He said he had been smoking dagga for several years without harm. 
"Dagga seeds are not narcotic and contain up to 24% protein with all 
the amino acids necessary for human nutrition," he told the court.

He quoted the case of late IFP parliamentarian Dr Mario 
Oriani-Ambrosini, who fought a long battle for the government to 
legalise dagga for medical purposes.

In the US, 23 states have approved the medicinal use of cannabis, 
while in Colorado, Washington state, Alaska, Oregon and Washington 
DC, recreational use is also legal.

Colorado and Washington state recently opened the first legal 
marijuana markets.

Jeremy Acton, head of the Dagga Party, said: "All the summonses 
brought in Kwa-Zulu-Natal are presently being held over pending a 
constitutional hearing in Cape Town High Court in December."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom