The terrible evils of dagga

Andrew Donaldson writes on the court battle to get the drug legalised


WHEN the American states of Washington and Colorado voted to legalise marijuana in November 2012, the Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad, a think tank in Mexico City, calculated that these reforms would cost the Mexican drug cartels about $1.4-billion in annual revenue. 

Geography is not our strong point, here at the Mahogany Ridge, but we do know that Washington and Colorado are some distance away from the Mexican border, and that the cartels’ biggest market by far remains California.

However, in November last year, Californians voted in favour of recreational marijuana, paving the way for the largest commercial pot market in the US — and more huge losses to the cartels. Massachussetts and Nevada also voted for recreational use.

California legalised marijuana for medical use back in 1996, the first state to do so. Its approval of the more traditional use of the drug has taken a surprisingly long time, especially when you consider its supposedly progressive reputation or, if you will, its general propensity for woo-woo flakiness.

One possible reason for this is that those involved in the dope economies of Mendocino, Trinity and Humboldt counties — the hilly “emerald triangle” of Northern California and the largest cannabis-producing region in the US — actively campaigned against legalisation, fearing that it would bring an end to a lifestyle that has, if I may, flowered there since the 1960s.

Legalisation, it was argued, would mean state intervention, taxes and regulations: heavy sh*t from the “the man”, and what have you. There was also the fear of both Big Pharma and Big Farmer muscling out the hippie cottage industry types.

Imagine toking up with something called Beyond Mif™ by Monsanto? Or getting baked on KlaxoGage™? It’s bound to be a bummer in every respect.

I mention all this only because it’s the sort of argument that would perhaps benefit those who are opposing the Pretoria High Court application by Jules Stubbs and Myrtle Clarke, the so-called Dagga Couple, to legalise the use and sale of the drug for medical and recreational purposes.

Once the growth, production, sale and distribution of cannabis was permitted and regulated, the state’s advocates could suggest, it would then become just another resource to be plundered by the Guptas and their fellow rent-seekers at the Saxonwold Shebeen.

It’s not a very strong argument, admittedly, but it does seem to be a whole lot better than what they’ve come up with so far. 

According to Stubbs and Clarke’s advocate, Don Mahon, the state has produced no expert or scientific evidence to support its opposition to his clients’ action. He told the court this week that this evidence should have been handed to him four months ago.

To date, all the state has done is attempt to have all evidence supporting the use of the drug by adults — annexures in the form of scientific reports, academic literature or expert testimony — thrown out of court.

In fact, advocate Reg Willis, who is appearing for Doctors for Life, Christian botherers who are supporting the state in this matter, has claimed that some of these annexures were too long to read anyway. 

Being something of a backchatting smartypants, Mahon told the court that, seeing as he’s had them for ten months now, Willis has had plenty of time to go through the documents. Besides, it’s what advocates do, trawl through documents.

Of course, with the inconvenient evidence to the contrary out of the way, the state will then, with expert testimony from Doctors for Life Without Science, be able to convince the court and, indeed, the world at large, of the evils of dagga. 

And there are many. For a start, it will prevent patients from appreciating the full force of their God-given cancers by reducing their pain, combatting nausea and stimulating their appetites. It’s not what He wanted when He made them sick in the first place.

Then, of course, there is that old fear that someone, somewhere is just having too much fun, and the court may be forced to endure lengthy accounts of young people in the throes of goat-fevered rutting and other sexual depravity in which neither fish nor fowl is spared. 

This sort of thing is more commonly associated with a good brandy ’n’ coke bender. Just ask our barmaid, if you must. But how she gets her jollies is her business, and we won’t go there.

We may instead go marching. Dagga, it must be said, is the drug of choice when one is demonstrating against President Jacob Zuma. More than wine, or even absinthe, it helps to counter the dreary sense of deja vu that is common at such occasions.

This article first appeared in the Weekend Argus.