Dagga Couple: Battle is won but war not over until legislation changes

Dagga Couple: Battle is won but war not over until legislation changes

- Jules Stobbs and Myrtle Clark are better known in South Africa as the now famous dagga couple

- The couple has welcomed Tuesday’s ruling by the Constitutional Court which decriminalised the use of dagga by adults but added there was a lot more work to do

- Stobbs and Clark said they would continue to fight to have dagga legalised in SA so people could benefit economically from the plant

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Jules Stobbs and Myrtle Clark are better known in South Africa as the now famous (or infamous depending on your point of view) dagga couple. The couple has welcomed Tuesday’s ruling by the Constitutional Court which decriminalised the use and cultivation of dagga by adults but said there was a lot more work for them to do.

The couple said they were pleased with winning an important battle but their war was far from over. Clark said the couple remained committed to the full and complete legalisation of dagga in South Africa.

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She explained that the couple wanted to have dagga completely legalised in South Africa so people could benefit from dagga’s economic potential. The couple also wants to help all those who have criminal records for being in possession of dagga.

Briefly.co.za gathered that Stobbs and Myrtle said many young people were unfairly prejudiced from travelling overseas or even finding a job because they had been prosecuted for being in possession of small amounts of dagga.

IOL.co.za reported that the couple were currently compiling a database containing the names of all those who have been arrested and or prosecuted for being in possession of dagga. The couple wants to use this database in a future class action case against the government.

The couple will petition the state to expunge the records of those who have been arrested and or prosecuted for possession and are prepared to take the matter to court if needs be.

While the Constitutional Court’s ruling on Tuesday has been welcomed by certain quarters of South African society they have also pointed out that the ruling does not speak to how prior or pending offences, those already locked up and criminal records will be affected.

According to the Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Rodney de Kock, the ruling only applies to new cases and not to matters which are already in the justice system.

He said the original ruling in the Western Cape High Court called for a stay of prosecution of all cases which met the qualifying criteria which were that a person only had a small amount of dagga on them.

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De Kock said prosecutors would in most cases withdraw cases which fell into that category but that it was ultimately up to each individual prosecutor’s discretion to decide whether to proceed or not.

He added that applications to expunge criminal records would be handled on a case by case basis and the merits of each application would be carefully considered.

The dagga couple has urged those who require help with legal matters or would like to be included in the database to contact them. The couple added that they hoped the ruling would be explained to police officers so now illegal arrests are kept to a minimum.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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