Our activist friends at the International Drug Policy Consortium released a striking infographic this week on how to responsibly regulate Dagga. We realised this would be the perfect measuring stick for the current proposed Bill, so we took a closer look to see if it compares to our proposed legislation model.

 

When it comes to health and human rights for Cannabis users, they definitely will be getting the short end of the stick. One would think that our rights, public health, access to Cannabis medicine, liberty and freedom to continue the autonomy of the unregulated market in a regulated way would enjoy preference when it comes to new regulations. Instead it seems that first and foremost our government wants to still invade our privacy to count our plants, lock us up and fine us for our medicine, traditions, socks and adult use.

The Bill is particularly lacking when it comes to social justice. There is just no provision for any healthy Cannabis economy as the constant pointless plant counting and arresting of growers and users will stifle the community involvement, hinder transport, discourage small growers, and exclude traditional healers. It offers no solution as far as reparation of past mistakes and prevention of repeating them goes. 

There is no allowance for any trade, even though the unregulated market is thriving. How can the lawmakers not see this? While research and medicine is allowed for the chosen few, but any trade remains prohibited, we will still have the constant arrests, plant counting disputes and ongoing legal red tape that will arise from the implementation of the current Bill. Only the lawyers and corrupt officials will benefit from this. On top of this nobody would want to remain in a market pointlessly controlled and manipulated by our brutal police force who knows nothing about Cannabis.

The Bill makes absolutely no provision for the protection of women against exploitation and abuse. The majority of arrest victims are men, leaving women and children at home, and families without the income from their cannabis harvest cannot afford to feed or send the kids to school. As you read this 6 foreign national men have been unconstitutionally kept behind bars since February 2018, without a trial, for growing Cannabis. Their wives and kids are left at home. The media only publishes bust reports or stories about the bill, while human rights violations like these always get covered up behind the scenes. Proper legislation should be inclusive of all genders while promoting harm reduction and equality of all people.

Lawmakers need education. They need to listen to the public and look at civil society’s feedback through petitions, surveys and polls. Evidence based drug policy should reflect the scale of harms. We thank our affiliates at The Transform Drug Policy Foundation for their dedicated work and inspiration in the compiling of our manifesto

For more information download The Principles Of Legal Regulation booklet or read the full report.

This article originally appeared on fieldsofgreenforall.co.za and was published with permission.

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