Don’t blame Popcru for proposing that we go to pot legally
POPCRU’S proposal to have dagga legalised will come as bad news to all those dealers whose profits depend on ordinary users too afraid to grow their own backyard plants.
The industry can only survive so long as smoking pot is a criminal offence.
Naturally the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union is open to ridicule. So let me be one of the first to poke fun at its attempt to weed such criminals out of business. After all, everyone has got to live.
Will Popcru stand for Police Order Pot Consumption: Really Urgent?
But now that the police have a ministerial green light to shoot dead all the real baddies, it seems a pity that they should continue wasting valuable trigger time chasing after people who simply wish to spend a few hours rising above life’s burdens in a haze of sweet-smelling smoke.
Not everyone will rush to light up a zol. A lot of kids have no desire to try out pot the moment they are old enough to get off one. But why stop adults keen to see whether dagga leaves them feeling any worse than an alcohol-induced hangover?
Perhaps all South Africans should be reminded of the warning in a 1966 criminology textbook. It declared: “In extreme cases, marijuana can so destroy a man’s character that he mixes freely with persons of another race.”
The country might have been in a far happier state by now had everyone been allowed to go to pot in the middle of the last century.
I once tried it myself at a party, but being a non-smoker I didn’t inhale, and it had no effect. I quite envied one of my friends who suddenly thought he was Sammy Davis junior and started doing a soft-shoe shuffle. If Popcru has its way, however, I may give dagga another chance.
You don’t drive if you’ve ingested dagga. A colleague of mine once did, and told me afterwards he had spent what seemed like half-an-hour passing the same house. This is a terrible thing to happen to you if you’re in a hurry, but useful if you are trying to kill time and don’t really want to reach your destination.
Popcru says its members should be freed up to concentrate on serious crime, but I suspect that some police enjoy hunting rookers. It’s much easier than confronting hooded men armed with AK-47s.
Some years ago a young man cultivated dagga plants on the roof of his mother’s house just below Rhodes Avenue, near Kirstenbosch, and told her he was growing tomatoes.
But someone ratted on him. His mother was terrified when a string of police cars screamed to a halt outside and their occupants leapt out, armed to the teeth. He was hauled off like a terrorist. One of South Africa’s most respected activists and neurologists, the late Dr Frances Ames, fought to have dagga legally prescribable, especially for the effective treatment of multiple sclerosis. Her husband, David Castle, a Cape Times leader writer, died a year after I joined the paper, and I never had a chance to ask him if he partook of pot.
I know he drank, like the rest of us. It can do you just as much harm, but isn’t as yet a criminal activity.