trial of the plant in South Africa
trial of the plant in South Africa

Trial of the Plant? - Why South Africa's Cannabis Court Case Is Captivating the Marijuana Industry

How will the South African courts rule in the trial of the plant?

Posted by:
Joseph Billions on Wednesday Jan 11, 2023

trial of the plant

Victory will be an incredible legacy to the unfortunately deceased Julian Stobbs. The cannabis judgment in "Trial of the Plant" might be the most significant in Africa. According to the Soweto Cannabis Alliance Forum's chairperson, Dikeledi Matla, "one success will instantaneously trickle down to all, and they are keeping a careful eye on it.


Cannabis legalization kicked off in South Africa four years ago. In September 2018, the Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled that it is no longer a crime to use, possess, or cultivate cannabis in private for personal use. The ruling also allows adults to grow up to six cannabis plants for personal use. However, the sale of cannabis and public use of cannabis is still illegal. The government is currently developing regulations for the legal sale and distribution of cannabis for adult use. It is worth noting that the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes has been legal in South Africa since 2017.


However, aspects of its possession and use are still criminalized in the country. Thus, in South Africa, a much-followed legal battle to legalize cannabis usage for everyone is memorializing the terrible death of the nation's most well-known cannabis campaigner. It is called "Trial of the Plant."


The Dagga Couple

Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke, also known as the "dagga couple," are South African activists who have been at the forefront of the movement to legalize cannabis in South Africa. They have been vocal advocates for the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. They have challenged South African drug laws in court. In 2018, the Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled in their favor, striking down a ban on the private use and cultivation of cannabis.


The "dagga couple" has been widely recognized for their efforts to legalize cannabis in South Africa. They have been featured in numerous media articles and interviews. They have been praised by cannabis advocates for their dedication and perseverance. Despite facing challenges and setbacks, they have continued to fight for the legalization of cannabis in South Africa.


Stobbs and Clarke have also co-authored a book about their experiences as cannabis activists, titled "The Great Book of Hemp: The Complete Guide to the Environmental, Commercial, and Medicinal Uses of the World's Most Extraordinary Plant." In the book, they discuss their journey as cannabis activists and their efforts to legalize cannabis in South Africa. They also provide information about the environmental, commercial, and medicinal uses of cannabis, as well as its history and cultural significance.


For many who don't know, cannabis is commonly referred to as "dagga" in South Africa. The dagga couple was jointly responsible for the country's purported "trial of the plant." Unfortunately, Stobbs was killed at dawn in July 2020 during a house invasion in Johannesburg, highlighting the tragedy of South Africa's growing violent crime. However, Clarke, the surviving partner, has resolved to fight to ensure full cannabis legalization.


Seven South African government agencies, anti-cannabis medical organizations, and tens of thousands of court documents are all opponents of Clarke. Nonetheless, Clarke is seeking a declaratory decision that legalizes all facets of individual cannabis use and possession in South Africa, including food, recreation, and medical extractions.


"We are monitoring the 'trial of the plant' because our so-called milestone cannabis legalization in South Africa in 2018 considerably misleads. It has mountains of regulations," says Shimmer Pasi, treasurer of the Sandton Cannabis Boutiques Forum, a coalition of small boutique retailers in Johannesburg, South Africa, pursuing licenses to publicly sell cannabis on main street commercial shops.


More To Be Done

In South Africa, cannabis use for personal purposes in the home and corporate cultivation were decriminalized four years ago. But according to Matla, the Black farmers' cannabis lobby's chairman, "that is insufficient and unacceptable."  


Many South Africans are outraged that cannabis legalization occurred just on paper, leaving them criminalized even worse in some circumstances. Cannabis permits take a long time and are mostly granted to wealthy foreign firms; cannabis member clubs have their installations seized and destroyed by authorities, as advocates in South Africa have frequently warned about Cannabis Culture.


Matla believes that four years later, South Africa is no better than authorized and simple cannabis usage in the same way compared to tobacco and alcohol. The 2018 momentous legalization ruling has left many embedded prohibitions, hence the relevance of the 'trial of the plant.'


"That is why the 'trial of the plant' could spark a demand revolution in South Africa and neighboring Zimbabwe, Lesotho, and Zambia because the rage is the same. Matla added that while cannabis regulation is approved on paper, there are 100s of obstacles that make even using a joint on the roadside legally culpable to arrest.


According to Matla, cannabis legalization in South Africa has secured well-heeled foreign firms from Canada and the EU lucrative medicinal cannabis market. Still, it has mostly been confined to local Black South Africans. That's why 'plant trial' is so crucial; cannabis legalization in South Africa has been "unfair legalization," he claims.


Challenges of Cannabis Legalization In South Africa

Undoubtedly, several challenges and struggles have been involved in legalizing cannabis in South Africa. One of the main challenges has been the need to change long-standing laws and attitudes about cannabis. Cannabis has been illegal in South Africa for many years, and there is still a significant amount of stigma and misinformation surrounding the drug.


Logistical challenges have been involved in establishing a legal cannabis industry, including the need to create a system for growing, processing, and distributing cannabis. The government has had to consider issues such as licensing, quality control, and labeling, as well as how to ensure that the legal cannabis industry does not undermine the illegal cannabis market.


Overall, the process of legalizing cannabis in South Africa has been a complex and ongoing effort that has involved a range of challenges and struggles.



South Africa's 'dagga couple' began suing their country over cannabis legalization in 2011, eventually leading to the legalization judgment in 2018.


But according to Pasi, the cannabis boutique shop entrepreneur, South Africa's cannabis legalization is not complete. The plant trial will be a pleasant, unconstrained, and final victory. "The government is afraid of a 'trial of the plant,' therefore you see national leaders joining the judicial procedure to oppose it," added Pasi.





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