It hit the airwaves on the 5FM afternoon news last week and set ripples throughout the cannabis community. Courtesy of a SABC news headline, “Govt commission recommends semi-legalisation of marijuana”.
The sweet and short of it is that the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities has tuned the Government to stop beating down on Rasta’s for doing their thing. The timing couldn’t be better as we are in Heritage Month, a time during which we celebrate the culture, or lack thereof, that has brought us to who we are. The Rastafarians tend to get the short end of the stick in the media when they are repeatedly portrayed as red-eyed dreadlocked layabouts with funny accents. This doesn’t compare to the short end of the legal stick they get for engaging in a much publicised aspect of their religion… Da herb.
This possibly or not so possibly government commission has taken this obvious oppression to task and made some recommendations to a few government departments, the most talked about of which is that Rasta’s be allowed to carry at least 100g of cannabis on them. That’s Checkers bag territory.
A great day it would be for Rastafarians if this recommendation were taken seriously, but, and this is a big but. It will not be practical. It would create a similar standard as seen in the alcohol prohibition era of the US during which Jewish rabbi numbers rocketed due to the permitting of religious alcohol. You can imagine that every sort of individual found a sudden new religious fervour within them. It would be just as tough a time separating the real from the surreal in a religious-reasons-only cannabis market. We should not have to settle for a second class law, you do not see Christian’s only wine or moustached men only tobacco laws. Why settle for this with Cannabis?
If something should come of this report and we see the weed freed, but on a dreadlock leash, I will stand and applaud with the rest as it concedes the point of cannabis use not being a criminal act and would bring the rest of the cannabis laws coming down faster than a loosely tendered RDP house.
I’m holding my thumbs, but not my breath… Our government doesn’t have a good current record of sound decision making. Let’s hope.