Ex-drug users slam dagga le­gal­i­sa­tion

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - GOITSEMANG TLHABYE

ALCOHOL and cig­a­rettes are al­ready killing the coun­try; please don’t add more chal­lenges for the youth and poor com­mu­ni­ties to bat­tle with in fu­ture.

This was the ap­peal of for­mer drug users demon­strat­ing out­side the high court in Pre­to­ria since Mon­day against the le­gal­i­sa­tion of cannabis, which they be­lieve would im­pact poorer com­mu­ni­ties the most if given the green light.

For­mer dagga user Kwa­zokhule Gobozi said even though he came from a good fam­ily, he was lured into smok­ing dagga af­ter friends told him it would help him lose weight. He said it ac­tu­ally saw him gain more weight.

To lose the weight, Gobozi said he con­tin­ued ex­per­i­ment­ing with harder and newer drugs on the mar­ket but they only led him to liv­ing on the streets.

“With every new drug, my friends would tell me this would help me. I even­tu­ally lost the weight when I tried heroin, but by then I was home­less and sickly,” he said. “We know that from the mo­ment they le­galise it, kids will fall into its never-end­ing trap.”

Gobozi said hav­ing dagga re­stricted to peo­ple’s homes and for adults would not elim­i­nate the pos­si­bil­ity of chil­dren ex­per­i­ment­ing with it.

Tsholo­gelo Mahlangu, from Bronkhorstspruit, said his ad­dic­tion started with cig­a­rettes in 1998, and he was later in­tro­duced to dagga as a “cool thing”. In col­lege, he moved on to man­drax and in 2009 started us­ing nyaope.

“Le­gal­is­ing an­other sub­stance isn’t the way to go. As it is, we are strug­gling with the ef­fects of alcohol abuse and cig­a­rettes, which are also gate­way sub­stances. Why would any­one want to add more prob­lems for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions?” he asked.

Mean­while, in­side court 6E the le­gal bat­tle met yet an­other hur­dle as SC Leah Gcabushe and Doc­tors for Life le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive Redge Wil­lis sub­mit­ted an ap­pli­ca­tion to have all an­nex­ures sub­mit­ted by the Fields of Green for All struck off.

Gcabushe said sub­mis­sions and sum­maries from ex­pert wit­nesses were not rel­e­vant to the trial. Th­ese in­cluded the in­dus­trial pro­duc­tion of mar­i­juana and hemp, and the uses of med­i­cal mar­i­juana.

She said 19 days was too much of the court’s time for such a mat­ter to be heard.

How­ever, de­fen­dant ad­vo­cate Don Ma­hon said all eight le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tives were af­forded per­mis­sion of 10 months to go through the sum­maries and sub­mis­sions to be given by the ex­perts.

Dagga cou­ple Julian Sto­bbs and Myr­tle Clarke said they were up­set by the state’s lat­est ap­pli­ca­tion, which seemed more like a ploy to de­lay the trial pro­ceed­ings.

Clarke said: “To be told we have too much ev­i­dence is com­pletely un­fair as all rep­re­sen­ta­tives were af­forded the sum­maries from Septem­ber 30, 2016.

“Who has ever heard a le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive say­ing it is not their job to read? They could have got one of their ju­niors to read the ex­pert sum­maries.”

The mat­ter was post­poned to to­day.


UP­SET: ‘Dagga cou­ple’ Myr­tle Clarke and Julian Sto­bbs in the high court in Pre­to­ria.

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