‘Dagga cou­ple’ set for a le­gal bat­tle

Plea to join case as friends of the court

Sowetan - - News - By Dave Cham­bers

The “dagga cou­ple”‚ who are em­broiled in their own court fight over le­gal­i­sa­tion of cannabis‚ want to join a sec­ond le­gal bat­tle.

Myr­tle Clarke and Ju­lian Sto­bbs‚ whose case in the North Gaut­eng High Court in Pre­to­ria has been post­poned un­til next year‚ this week filed an ap­pli­ca­tion to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court to be ad­mit­ted as friends of the court in an­other case.

The state is ap­peal­ing against a find­ing in March in the Western Cape High Court that the cul­ti­va­tion and pri­vate use of dagga should be le­galised and, in her af­fi­davit to the ConCourt, Clarke said she and Sto­bbs wanted to in­ter­vene in the public in­ter­est.

The Cape Town case was brought by Rasta­far­ian ac­tivist Gareth Prince and the Dagga Party led by Jeremy Ac­ton‚ and in its judg­ment the court found the ban on per­sonal use of dagga by adults in their homes was an in­fringe­ment of their right to pri­vacy.

The court gave par­lia­ment 24 months to amend the Drugs and Traf­fick­ing Act and Medicines and Re­lated Sub­stance Con­trol Act.

Clarke said in her af­fi­davit that if they were ad­mit­ted as friends of the court they would ar­gue that clauses in the two acts were based on “man­i­festly im­per­mis­si­ble racist and moral­is­tic jus­ti­fi­ca­tions”.

The case brought by Prince and Ac­ton was “unique in that the mat­ter is one of sig­nif­i­cant public in­ter­est and im­por­tance‚ in­vok­ing a con­sid­er­a­tion of a vast num­ber of con­sti­tu­tional rights whilst‚ at the same time‚ all of the pro­tag­o­nists on one side of the ar­gu­ment are not rep­re­sented by coun­sel”.

/ ALAISTER RUS­SELL

The cou­ple, whose case is post­poned un­til next year, say they want to in­ter­vene in an­other case in the public in­ter­est.

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