JOHANNESBURG - A Lanseria couple
has launched a legal challenge against legislation outlawing dagga,
claiming it was based on unscientific prejudice and violated their right to explore human consciousness.
Judge Eberhard Bertelsmann yesterday granted an order in the North Gauteng High Court, staying the criminal trial of Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke pending the outcome their constitutional challenge against sections of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act dealing with dagga.
Stobbs and Clarke, both freelance art directors involved in the film industry, run a personal
growth retreat and indigenous garden known as The Jazzfarm
on their property near Lanseria, north of Johannesburg.
Many of their activities, which centre around a “sweat lodge”, labyrinth and garden, involve the use of dagga.
According to Stobbs, they hosted academics, healers, shamans and activists from all over the world and were part of a global community that reached out to people with an interest in expanding their potential to live “a rich and interesting life”.
Stobbs, 51, said in court papers he and Clarke, 44, have been dagga smokers for over 20 years and were both responsible taxpaying citizens of South Africa with no previous record of criminal activity.
They were arrested in August last year during an early morning raid by members of the Langlaagte Dog Unit, who strip-searched Clarke twice and confiscated a quantity of dagga and dagga seeds.
According to Stobbs, the South African legal system was “sufficiently corrupt” that they had the option to pay a large some of money for their case to “disappear”, but chose not to do so.
He suggested that the prohibition owed its existence to outdated prejudice on the harmfulness of cannabis, which he claimed was motivated in part by a now defunct racist political agenda.