Monthly Archives: October 2014

Drug & Trafficking Act of 1992 vs The Constitution of 1994, Proof Dagga Laws are…

Drug & Trafficking Act of 1992 vs The Constitution of 1994, Proof Dagga Laws are the last of Apartheid law to go.

Dagga Magazine

Chronically & chronologically-speaking: present day proof that dagga law is part of apartheid is the fact that the Drug & Trafficking Act of 1992 pre-dates the Constitution of South Africa and the birth of the rainbow nation in 1994 …read more      

Drug & Trafficking Act of 1992 vs The Constitution of 1994, Proof Dagga Laws are…

Drug & Trafficking Act of 1992 vs The Constitution of 1994, Proof Dagga Laws are the last of Apartheid law to go.

Dagga Magazine

Chronically & chronologically-speaking: present day proof that dagga law is part of apartheid is the fact that the Drug & Trafficking Act of 1992 pre-dates the Constitution of South Africa and the birth of the rainbow nation in 1994 …read more      

Cannabis is an entheogen, a teacher plant, and has many things to show a user of…

Cannabis is an entheogen, a teacher plant, and has many things to show a user of the plant. Most cannabis detractors haven’t used the plant before so cannot possibly comment on the wonders of mind enhancement when using this plant.
We constantly get told “you only want to legalise the plant to get stoned”
Correct. Which part of this don’t you understand?
This lengthy article delves into cannabis, consciousness and self exploration.
Enjoy your weekend read…….

Cannabis, Mind Enhancements, and Culture, Part I
After more than 80 years of an almost worldwide prohibition our outlook on marijuana and its mind-altering effects is mostly dominated by fear, ignorance, and disinformation. There are still dozens of myths circulating about the negative effects of marijuana, myths that have been created and spread… …read more      

Dagga Magazine has gone viral

New start-up magazine raising funds to take pot to print.

The magazine has been going viral on social media in the last couple of days. The start-up project has managed to raise about R2000 of R80 000 in crowd funding, from 5 sponsors, in only two days .

The campaign offers rewards for every donation. Some of the perks on offer are various sized advertisements, in the publication, while others offer a copy of the magazine or a 12-month subscription.

Earlier the magazine posted job opportunities on their Facebook page, offering up to a R1000 for a single featured article. Referring to themselves as “daggafarian job-creators

The magazine does not stop there. Dagga Magazine plans on funding dagga legalisation.

Dagga Magazine pledge to donate R1 or more per copy sold, monthly, towards a trust to provide financial aid in legal support for all those who are being prosecuted under unjust dagga law. ” their Facebook post read.

The future of Dagga Magazine depends on every single daggafarian in South Africa. Act, Claim Your Culture” – Editor, Dagga Magazine

This one’s for the history books. The first dagga culture magazine in South Africa. Can you believe it?

Support SA Cannabis Culture – Claim Your Culture – Act Now

Dagga Magazine start-up has raised $196 of $8000 (R1710 of R80 000) in 3 days, from only 5 funders.

Become a daggafarian job-creator or get paid R1000 for a featured article.

Claim Your Culture

Please Support South African Cannabis Culture – Act Now!



For R10 or more – Receive a shout-out on Dagga Magazine’s Facebook Page
For R40 or more – Receive a copy of the first issue of Dagga Magazine.
For R400 or more –  Receive a 12 Month Subscription to Dagga Magazine
For R860 or more – 1x Small Ad in first issue +/- 75.692 mm x 52.88 mm
For R1700 or more – 1x Medium Ad in first issue +/- 112.917 mm x 60.215 mm
For R2800 or more – 1 Full Page Ad in first issue.
For R1144800 or more become a General Sponsor.
For R5500000 or more become a Premium Sponsor
For R11000000 or more become a Gold Sponsor.
For R137376000 or more become a Platinum Sponsor.

Dagga Magazine Content Providers Commission Structure – 17 Oct 2014

Would you like to make some extra cash? Why not write for the Dagga Magazine or if you are a photographer submit your story or photograph to

Not all submissions will be used. Only articles printed in the Dagga Magazine are paid out.

Only articles in English and of quality content, and high quality photos will be considered.

Class A (20 000 copies sold)
Featured Article – R1000ea
General Articles & Column Pieces – R500ea
Cover Photo – R500ea
Photos – R200ea

Class B (10 000 copies sold)
Featured Article – R500ea
General Articles & Column Pieces – R250ea
Cover Photo – R250ea
Photos – R100ea

Class C (2000 copies sold)
Featured Article – R250ea
General Articles & Column Pieces – R125ea
Cover Photo – R125ea
Photos – R50ea

Dagga Magazine on Facebook

Terms & Conditions Apply

Cannabis Magazine Future Concept

In the hope that Dagga Magazine will reach a self sustainable interest in South Africa, we have taken the liberty to think of creative ways to push the magazine if the crowdfund results in success.

At time of posting Dagga Magazine have had five contributions with the total value of R1710 of R80 000

Canna-MagazineMbanje-MagazineMatikwane-Magazine Weed-Magazine


Conceptual Names of Future Issues

The publication will still be Dagga Magazine but for a limited time will feature the word Dagga in other terms or language in a bid to reclaim a word deemed derogatory to the majority of South Africa and the world.

Donate Now!
Next Target: R300 000 (for 10 000 copies)

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Estelle Taute refers Section 21 info request to Dr Shyamli Munbodh

On Sep 22 I contacted Estelle from Dep Health & MCC regarding section 21 to find out the process regarding the application for medical dagga via the Section 21 application. Here is the discussion in chronological order.

Medical Dagga by CDA Peter Ucko

Michael Hawthorne <>

Sep 22

to Estelle
Hi. Good day

Recently Peter Ucko mentioned in a SABC interview that it is possible to make an application through the mcc.

“Medical dagga is available. You make an application to the MCC
(Medicines Control Council) through your doctor. There is a
process so it might not be easy.” – Peter Ucko, Central Drug

I would like to know if it is possible for you to put me in contact with the mcc or provide me with the documentation required by my gp to make this process as easy as possible?

Thank you for your time.

Estelle Taute

10:15 AM (2 hours ago)
to Michael
I’m afraid I have no knowledge of the “Central Drug Authority”.
The national medicines regulatory authority is the Medicines Control Council.
Please contact dr Shyamli Munbodh on 012 395 8241 regarding your request.
Yours faithfully
Estelle Taute
Director: Operations and Administration
Cluster: FC, PT&PR
National Dept of Health, RSA
Tel: +27 (0)12 395 8034
Fax: +27 (0)12 395 8468

Michael Hawthorne <>

12:47 PM (2 minutes ago)

to Estelle

Thank you for your reply,It’s very obviously the CDA lied on National Television. Could you please invest some time into watching this SABC Newsroom youtube upload of the interview with Peter Ucko of the CDA. Where he specifically say that it’s possible to apply for cannabis via your organisation the MCC.

If you cannot afford to watch the whole clip here is a link to 9 min 20 secs in where the CDA representative lies to South Africa on the name of your organisation.

Also recently I was made aware that one can apply for medical cannabis but the application will not be approved as advised by Dr Shyamli Munbodh . (Podcast)

Could the dagga culture but also more specifically the illegal dagga  criminal/patients of South Africa please get some clarity on why cannabis/dagga is not approved. When all the science in the world cannot even justify the law?

Please, all we ask for is full disclosure on Section 21 & Dagga. What is the justification not to approve application. To 4 million people it sure seems like a conspiracy to protect the interests of legal preferred medicines already available.

Can we appeal the dismissed application?

There is no scientific data to give justification for a dismissal. We could rebut your every claim with even more recent and even more valid credible scientific sources.



Dagga Movement

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Estelle Taute

1:27 PM (0 minutes ago)

to Michael
I do not handle section 21 applications or dagga.
Please contact the Registrar of Medicines, Ms Mandisa Hela, on 012 395 8066/ 8003 with any further queries.
Yours faithfully
Estelle Taute
Director: Operations and Administration
Cluster: FC, PT&PR
National Dept of Health, RSA
Tel: +27 (0)12 395 8034
Fax: +27 (0)12 395 8468 

Michael Hawthorne <>

1:28 PM (0 minutes ago)

to Estelle
Please assist the dagga patients from within your capacity at Dep of Health. If not possible at least contact the relevant department also on your own behalf to have the matter be settled in general. Please do you part for those suffering needing this medication. Please apply some Batho Pele in this regard.Thank you again.


Estelle Taute

9:15 AM (2 hours ago)

to Michael
I have provided the contact details of the section 21 unit and the  Registrar, which is what I can do in my “capacity” at the Dept.
Therefore I will not engage in further communication from you in this matter.
Estelle Taute
Director: Operations and Administration
Cluster: FC, PT&PR
National Dept of Health, RSA
Tel: +27 (0)12 395 8034
Fax: +27 (0)12 395 8468

Michael Hawthorne <>

11:35 AM (1 minute ago)

to Estelle
Thank you for your time. Please do more on your part to support the medical dagga patients of South Africa.



SAHRC cannot protect citizens against unjust dagga law – Chronological Order



The application and appeal of the dagga culture of South Africa to the South African Human Rights Commission in chronological order. In a nutshell the South African Human Rights Commission cannot change dagga law nor help those who are suffering under the persecution of unjust dagga laws.

Letter of Complaint & Official Complaint Application – Sent 28 March 2014

To whom it may concern.

I would like to know why the South Africa Human Rights Council has done nothing to protect otherwise law abiding citizen rights for choosing a safer alternative to alcohol, tobacco and conventional medication.

Where does the SAHRC stand on the subject of dagga prohibition. The last of the apartheid laws to go.

This is a a plea from the dagga culture and/or otherwise “illegal” medical dagga patients of South Africa.

We call for the immediate protection from an unjust law where the only victims are those who are punished under it.

I choose cannabis over alcohol, tobacco and conventional medication. I am not a criminal.

Please write back soonest.


The dagga culture of South Africa.




SAHRC’s reponse to complaint – Received 10 April 2014


REF: GP/1314/0939/KC (Please quote reference on future correspondence)
Dear Sir,


Your complaint received by the South African Human Rights Commission (the Commission) during March 2014, refers.
The Commission is a state institution established in terms of Chapter 9 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (the Constitution) to support constitutional democracy. The Commission is mandated in terms of section 184 of the Constitution to promote the protection, development and attainment of human rights, and to monitor and assess the observance of such rights within the Republic of South Africa.
Your complaint is based on the allegation that individuals who use cannabis for medical reasons are discriminated against and deemed to be criminals in terms of the existing legal framework prohibiting such conduct. In addition, you submit that the current legislative frameworks do not adequately protect individuals who utilise / consume cannabis. The Commission notes that the important issues which you have raised in your complaint have been the subject of recent discussions in Parliament. In this respect, the Commission confirms that it is currently monitoring all relevant Parliamentary and other debates and will also be engaging with the South African Medical Research Council and the Department of Health to obtain additional information on the topic to assist it with its own assessment and monitoring. In addition the Commission is monitoring recent reforms being implemented internationally.


Although the Commission does not have the power and / or authority to pass legislation, it can and will monitor and respond to legislative developments which impact on human rights.


Accordingly the Commission will continue monitoring developments on the issues raised by you to establish whether related legislation is being considered for development and tabling before Parliament in the future. Should such legislation be tabled, the Commission will at that stage, reassess the matter and respond thereto to ensure that basic human rights are appropriately addressed in such legislation to assist Parliament in its deliberations.


The Commission encourages interested and affected persons, like you, to actively engage in the public participation process which will occur once the draft is released to the public for comment.

In light of the above, the Commission will close its file herein.


Should you not be satisfied with this decision, you may lodge an appeal, in writing within 45 days of receipt of this letter. A copy of the appeal form is available at any office of the Commission. The appeal should be lodged with the Head




Letter of Appeal & Official Application of Appeal Against The Closure of Complaint – Sent 2nd May 2014

Thank you for you kindest response it’s has been welcomed by the whole dagga community of South Africa.

We are very glad to hear that you will be monitoring the developments of legal dagga in South Africa but I fear there is no hope for those who are being violated on a daily basis because of dagga prohibition today.

Please find herewith my official letter of appeal to keep the case file open and for immediate action to be taken to restore the rights and dignity of all daggafarians in South Africa.

Short excerpt on the history of dagga in South Africa

Dagga was first outlawed in South Africa in 1870 to control Indian workers in KwaZulu-Natal (Dagga is a traditional herb in the Hindu faith). By 1911 dagga was outlawed for all Africans except mineworkers and by 1925 the exception was revoked to control and oppress the members of the newly formed National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). Effectively doing so; by making Dagga illegal. The oppressive racist State disrupted the economic wellbeing and culture of the indigenous people.


Dagga prohibition is based on old British segregation and apartheid dagga laws which are not supported by credible science but based solely on propaganda.

The Drug & Trafficking Act of 1992 can be directly compared to the Immorality Act of 1927.  It was wrong to punish people for having a partner of another colour then and it is wrong to punish an adult for choosing to use dagga now.

A law is not justified on the basis that it is a law.

It’s a crime against humanity to punish people for choosing a safer alternative to alcohol, tobacco and conventional medication.

It is clear that the Drug & Trafficking Act does not protect society but severely punish otherwise law abiding citizens.

1 in 4 children smoke dagga because it’s freely available while it’s illegal and unregulated.

Any given police station in South Africa arrests up to an average of 10 people per day for dagga possession.

Dagga Laws violate the following sections of the bill of rights

**There may be many more

  3. LIFE


I would like to urge the commission to apply an active approach to protecting the rights of daggafarians in South Africa.

If immediate action is not taken now our children’s children will look back into history 50 years from now and realize that we decided to sit down and take a passive approach while old apartheid laws based on propaganda made criminals of otherwise law abiding & peace loving people.

This case cannot be closed until daggafarians are freed from persecution under unjust dagga laws.


Dagga laws must immediately be reviewed or void. There is no justified reason to continue to criminalize otherwise law-abiding citizens for dagga possession.

There is no reason for a delay in the restoration of dagga rights. Insignificant bills are reviewed & approved regularly by parliament.

Please be our voice in government

We thank you for your time the Dagga Culture of South Africa






SAHRC’s Response to Letter of Appeal – Received 13 October 2014


Our Ref.: Provincial Ref.: AP6/05/2014

 Date: 29 September 2014

Dear Sir,


 Tel.: 011877 3600

Fax: 011 403 0567

The above matter and your letter of appeal received by our offices on or about the 5th day of May 2014 refers.

 I kindly confirm receipt of the aforesaid letter and the contents thereof has been noted.

The South African Human Rights Commission (hereinafter referred to as the “Commission”) was established

to investigate prima facie violations of human rights as contained within the Bill of Rights, which is Chapter

Two of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act, 108 of 1996 (hereinafter referred to as the”Constitution”).

In terms of Article 4 (2) (c) of the Commission’s Complaints Handling Procedures:

“4 (2) The Commission may reject any complaint, which

(c) IS the subject of a dispute before a court of law, tribunal, any statutory body, any body with

internal dispute resolution mechanisms, or settled between the parties, or in which there 15 a

judgment on the issues In the complaint or finding of such court of law, tribunal, statutory body or

other body.


Moreover, in terms of Article 12 (8) (a) of the Commission’s Complaints Handling Procedures:

“if the Provincial Manager makes a finding tl1at the complaint does not fall within the jurisdiction of the

Commission or could be dealt with more effectively or expeditiously by another organisation institution statutory body or institution created by the Constitution or any applicable legislation the complaint must … be referred to such appropriate organisation Institution or body and the complainant must .. . be notified thereof in writing, and be provided with the contact details of such appropriate organisation, institution or other body”


On perusing the file in this matter I kindly note that the initial complaint raised the issue regarding the

criminal prohibition on the use of cannabis and the alleged resultant discrimination against persons who choose to use it for medicinal purposes.

You approached the Legal Services Unit of the Gauteng Provincial Office of the Commission with a request that it assist you in resolving your complaint.

On or about the 10th day of April 2014 I note that the Provincial Of Ace advised you that this issue has

recently been raised in Parliament for discussion, and whilst the Commission cannot pass a new law, the

Commission will continue to monitor the topic and should a new law be tabled, the Commission will engage with Parliament to ensure that it complies with human rights.


The Provincial Office was of the view that there was nothing further it could do in this matter and proceeded to close your file.


With regards to the provisions of both the Constitution and the Human Rights Commission Act, 54 of 1994, the Commission’s Legal Services Unit is charged with the duty to investigate complaints of human rights violations and the manner within which this is dealt with is determined in its Complaints Handling Procedures.


After a thorough analysis and due consideration of your complaint I confirm that the Commission may refer any matter that could be dealt with more effectively and expeditiously by another organisation, statutory body or institution, and further that the Commission may reject any complaint in which there is a judgment in the issue.


I note that in your letter of appeal you alleged that the current law violate a number of human rights,

including the right to dignity, life, equality, freedom of religion, amongst others.


The issue relating to the alleged unfair discrimination of the criminalisation of cannabis on the ground of religion has already been dealt with by the Constitutional Court in Prince v President of the Law Society of the Cape of Good Hope (CCT36/00) [2002} ZACC 1. The Commission does not have the jurisdiction to review or override a decision made by the Constitutional Court as this decision is final.

Further, the Commission does not possess the expertise to conduct an investigation into the medicinal properties of cannabis and whether the proposed benefits outweigh the potential dangers. The decision as to whether or not to legalise the medicinal use of cannabis does not purely relate to human rights considerations, but rather to wider policy implications. Consequentially, the Commission is not the correct body to deal with this matter, but its decision to continue to monitor the situation and to ensure that the human rights considerations are taken into account should a bill be tabled in Parliament is within the Commission’s mandate is correct.


Further, the Commission does not have the power to invalidate a law, and therefore you are therefore

advised to consult with a private attorney should you wish to take the matter to court for adjudication.


Accordingly, your appeal is dismissed and this decision is final.


Should you not be satisfied with this finding then kindly be advised that you may challenge same in court through the process of judicial review.


An application for judicial review must be made within 180 days of the date on which all internal remedies were exhausted. Where there are no internal remedies available, the application must be made within 180 days of the date on which the applicant became aware of the decision (or could reasonably be expected to have become aware of the decision). A person who asks for judicial review after this period will not be successful, unless they can convince the court to that it is “in the interests of justice” to allow it.


Yours faithfully,






Kimberley community pleads dagga to curb violence

Kimberley community pleads others to rather use dagga than alcohol to curb violence

“We call on our community to rather use dagga, instead of abusing alcohol, if they have the need to intoxicate themselves. Dagga smokers are known to be placid, peaceful and happy people, who are never involved in violence. Although it might be illegal, it remains a natural plant and does not cause the extensive harm alcohol, which is legal, does,” – one woman said.

Her sentiments were echoed by other bystanders.


Dagga Magazine: Claim Your Culture – Crowdfund

Update on ‎

I present to you South Africa’s first Dagga Culture magazine.

This publication aims to serve a niche market with the optimistic potential of reaching over 4 million subscribers.

Your support is critical in making this project reality.

Claim your culture. Claim your Dagga Magazine.
Donate & share with like minded individuals.

Concept Cover

Concept Cover #1

Concept Cover #2

Concept Cover #2

7 Funders have contributed and will be receiving rewards.


For R10 or more – Receive a shout-out on Dagga Magazine’s Facebook Page [1x Claimed]
For R40 or more – Receive a copy of the first issue of Dagga Magazine. [3x Claimed]
For R400 or more –  Receive a 12 Month Subscription to Dagga Magazine [2x Claimed]
For R860 or more – 1x Small Ad in first issue +/- 75.692 mm x 52.88 mm [1x Claimed]
For R1700 or more – 1x Medium Ad in first issue +/- 112.917 mm x 60.215 mm
For R2800 or more – 1 Full Page Ad in first issue.
For R1144800 or more become a General Sponsor.
For R5500000 or more become a Premium Sponsor
For R11000000 or more become a Gold Sponsor.
For R137376000 or more become a Platinum Sponsor.

Donate Now!
Target: R1790 of R80 000 (for 2000 copies)

Next Target: R300 000 (for 10 000 copies)

Donate via INDIEGOGO

Update on ‎

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Most dagga arrests in shortest time

16 people were arrested for possession of dagga on 14 August after community members tipped off police.


15 arrested for possession of Dagga To curb the spread of crime, 15 people were arrested for dagga possession this past weekend.


12 people arrested for possession of dagga

Twelve people were arrested in the Westenburg policing area weekend for the possession of marijuana, and they appeared before the Polokwane magistrate’s court last Monday.


10 held in Ficksburg dagga bust

Eight men and two women have been arrested for possession of dagga with an estimated street value of R750 000 near Ficksburg in Free State.


7 people arrested for possession of dagga, over the weekend, in Orlando, Soweto.

Another four people arrested on coast for possession of dagga

Two females and two males were arrested on Tuesday in Betania and Umzumbe  for possession of dagga.  A 26-year-old woman was arrested at a house in Umzumbe  after a 20 litre bucket full of dagga and 23 parcels dagga were found . The weight of the dagga was 961 grams.  A 45-year-old woman was arrested in Betania with nine parcels dagga weighing 60 grams in her possession. Two males (28) and (44) were also arrested in Betania  with one parcel  of dagga weighing 4 grams and  30 parcels  dagga weighing 70 grams respectively.  The woman in Southport appeared in court on Wednesday and the other three were given fines.


Human rights violations in the search for dagga

“Toe sê hulle ons moet ons broeke aftrek en ons ‘h-lle’ oopmaak, hulle wil kyk wat daarin is. Toe skyn hulle hul flitsligte daarin en sê ons moet afsak. Toe moet ons met ons broek wat afgetrek is, staan – amper asof daar nou iets moet uitval.

“Maak oop jou p**s dat ek die dagga kan sien.”
Met dié woorde het Vrouemaand afgeskop vir ’n 58-jarige antie van Epping Forest, Elsiesrivier, toe cops haar na bewering aangerand en kaal uitgetrek het.

’n Ontstoke Patricia Claasen (58) sê die cops het haar 05:55 by haar huis in Debden-laan wakker gemaak.
Sy sê: “Hulle het gesê hulle is hier om te skud. Toe ek vra of ek eers toilet toe kan gaan, toe sê hulle ja.

“Maar ek het nog op die toilet gesit toe twee polisievroue inbars en ­begin om my in die gesig te slaan.

“Hulle het my toe kaal uitgetrek en teen die bad gegooi.
“Toe sê die een polisievrou: ‘Maak oop jou p**s dat ek die dagga kan sien.’”

Die cops het egter niks gekry nie. Vir Claasen is die sout in dié wonde dat die cops volgens haar met haar R20 verdwyn het.
Haar 27-jarige dogter, ­Roseline, sê sy is baie ontevrede oor die voorval.

“Ek sal dit nie daar los nie,” belowe sy.
“Sedert Dinsdag se skietvoorval toe ’n vrou in ons straat doodgeskiet is, word ons nou deur die polisie geteiken.
“Die polisie sê die mense het by ons huis geskiet, maar dis nie so nie.”

Lt.kol. André Traut, polisiewoordvoerder, bevestig ’n saak van aanranding is by die plaaslike polisie­kantoor aangemeld.
Traut sê: “Bewerings van brutaliteit en wangedrag teen ons lede word as ernstig gesien.

51 Myths, Lies and Misconceptions behind the Drug Apartheid by Julian Buchanan

Drug law and policy has its roots in fear, ignorance, racism and self interest. Sadly, this has changed little over the years. It continues to be shaped more by punitive populism and moral crusades rather than scientific evidence, reason and rationality.


To expose and encourage a critical debate I’ve tried to uncover some of the main myths, lies and misconceptions that underpin and shape and inform drug policy development. Unless we acknowledge our philosophical position and identify the principles that inform our thinking, we risk replicating further misguided drug policies. Although punchy and accessible in style, each point below is carefully considered and can be academically supported – but that’s for another day!


1. “There is a clear pharmacological definition for drugs.” There isn’t – what we classify as illegal ‘drugs’ is a 1950s & 60s social and cultural construct with no coherent pharmacological rationale. We fail to recognise alcohol, tobacco or caffeine as drugs – and maybe sugar should also be classified as a drug.


2. “People who use drugs are drug misusers.” Untrue – the vast majority are recreational users who generally use drugs recreationally and sensibly, unfortunately we conflate use with problematic use. 


3. “Drug users are dirty, immoral and dangerous losers.” An unjustified and hostile stereotype – illicit drug users are a diverse group of people from every walk of life. The drug business is dirty, immoral and dangerous – that’s because it’s illegal, extremely lucrative and subject to fierce law enforcement.


4. “People take drugs because they have problems.” Untrue – most people take drugs because they enjoy the effect, just like alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.


5. “Regular drug use inevitably leads to addiction.” Untrue – only a small proportion of people who use drugs develop addiction – just like alcohol.


6. “Taking drugs damages people.” All substances (legal and illegal) can damage people and the most damaging drug of all is a legal one – alcohol. However, prohibition makes illicit drugs more dangerous and damaging. In addition, acquiring a criminal record for drugs can be more harmful to life than the drug. 


7. “Drug use fuels crime.” The presence of a drug and the commission of a crime does not equate to a causal connection. The relationship is ‘associated’ rather than ‘causal’. However, there is evidence that prohibition and tough law enforcement fuel violent crime.


8. “Legal drugs are safer and less harmful.” This is particularly misleading statement because alcohol and tobacco are far more damaging than most illegal drugs. However, prohibition makes it difficult to know the strength, ingredients or quality of illegal drugs.


9. “Law enforcement measures affect levels of drug use.” Studies show that in advanced western democracies neither tough, nor liberal law enforcement approaches have much impact upon levels of drug use.


10. “Addiction is an equal opportunity employer.” Drug use is an equal opportunity employer but addiction isn’t. While anyone can be affected, chronic problematic drug use tends to disproportionately affect those with disadvantaged and damaged lives that had significant difficulties before PDU and these people lack the resources, opportunities and support to recover.


11. “Addiction is a brain disease”. Untrue, yes the brain will be affected but loss of control of drugs (similar to internet addiction, gambling, over-eating) has much more to do with social, psychological and behavioural fact than neurological defects. If addiction was a brain disease MRIs would be used as diagnostic evidence of addiction.


12. “The government can protect society by banning new drugs”. Banning drugs masquerades as positive action to deal with the ‘problem’ when actually banning drugs has little impact on use and actually makes production, distribution and consumption more dangerous.


13. “Once listed in the Misuse of Drugs Act, drugs become controlled.” Technically correct – but once a drug is listed as a controlled drugit actually goes underground and ironically it becomes an uncontrolled drug.


14. “Cannabis is a gateway drug that leads to addiction to ‘hard’ drugs.” Untrue, most young adults have used cannabis and most have not progress onto using other drugs, nor have they become ‘addicts’. The last three Presidents of the USA all successfully used cannabis without any gateway affect.


15. “People who use caffeine, tobacco and/or alcohol are not drug users”.Untrue – they certainly are drug users and many are ‘addicts’. These three substances are all drugs, and ironically unlike some illegal drugs – in high dosages caffeine, tobacco and alcohol are toxic and result in death.


16. “If we lock up dealers we can reduce the drug related violence.” The opposite is true, disrupting the supply distribution and removing dealers creates more violence by fuelling market uncertainty, presenting new business opportunities and creating ‘business’ conflict.


17. “Drug use isn’t a crime issue it’s a health issue.” This may sound like a step in the right direction but taking a substance isn’t inherently a health issue anymore than enjoying a coffee or glass of wine is a ‘health issue’. Even problematic drug use isn’t best described as a health issue it’s more accurately a social, psychological, health and/or legal issue.


18. “There are ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ drugs.” There is scientific evidence underpinning the misleading categorisation of hard and soft drugs. While some drugs can generally pose greater problems than other drugs to some people – these generalisations are misleading because the impact of a drug varies from person to person depending upon the set (the person) and the setting (the environment) – it’s not just the substance.


19. “Drugs are illegal because they are dangerous, and the proof they are dangerous is that they are illegal!” This circular Double-Speak offers no evidence but is used to defend prohibition, but the substances we have called ‘drugs’ are not particularly more dangerous than other substances such as alcohol, sugar, tobacco, fat, caffeine and peanuts. However, prohibition increases the risk, danger and uncertainty considerable.


20. “Drug testing will tell you if a person is on drugs.” The result is unreliable due human error, machine error, deliberate and accidental false positives and false negatives. Some who tests positive for cannabis could have been cannabis free for four weeks because the drug can be detected days, weeks even months later.


21. “Like everything else on the market drugs must be proven safe before they can ever be legalised.” Not true. The safety for other products does not have to be established before approval (for example mobile phones or GM foods). Substances that are damaging or even lethal to some such as tobacco, alcohol, peanuts are legal and promoted, whereas a drug such as cannabis that has medicinal benefits and has never killed anyone is considered dangerous and remains illegal.


22. “People who use drugs are not criminals they need help.” An apparently benign and supportive statement, however, while taking a drug should not be a law enforcement concern, neither should we problematize or pathologize druguse as a health issue. There is no reason why we should assume a person using drugs needs help.


23. “Recovery is about becoming drug free.” Recovery is about people who have been dependent on drugs regaining control of their life, but becoming drug free isn’t always necessary to achieve that. Some people sort their life out and continue to use in a non-problematic way, and some take clean legal prescribed substitutes such as methadone or heroin and successfully lead productive and stable lives. 


24. “Harm reduction is about reducing the spread of diseases.” Harm reduction is not just about health – it’s also about reducing social, cultural and psychological harms. Harm reduction is an evidenced based approach that should sit alongside human rights to underpin all drug policy. It’s pragmatic, humane and non judgemental, it engages people where they are at with a view to reducing risk and harm.


25. “Harm reduction doesn’t support abstinence.” Harm reduction isn’t about getting people off drugs – it’s about working with people to reduce risks. However, in some cases abstinence might be a good way to reduce risks – so harm reduction incorporates abstinence – but only if the person is ready, able, interested and wanting to become abstinent.


26. “Illegal drugs have little or no use in medicine.” Although this sentiment is enshrined in the much out-dated 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotics this statement couldn’t be further from the truth. Opiates are essential in severe pain management  cannabis and MDMA, have medicinal benefits in the treatment of a growing number of conditions (e.g. MS, PTSD, Epilepsy). Illegality has made medical trials and acceptance extremely difficult.


27. “People who use drugs need treatment not prison.” Another apparently positive statement however, people who use drugs don’t need treatment or prison anymore than someone who has a double espresso each morning, or the person who enjoys a glass of whisky before bedtime needs treatment or prison. Under the umbrella of ‘it’s better than prison’ all sorts of questionable practices can be made palatable.


28. “To prevent stigma we need to understand addiction as a disease.” Yes we want to prevent stigma but addiction is not a disease. The most effective way to prevent stigma is to end the drug apartheid and challenge the hypocritical and flawed social construction of ‘drugs’. 


29. “Drug laws affect everyone the same.” This is not true. The chances of being stopped, searched, arrested and prosecuted for drug possession depends a greatly on the colour of your skin, your social class, age, location and your social background. 


30. “If we try hard enough we can eradicate drugs.” A fallacy. Forty years of extremely tough prohibition involving masses of time and money for police, armed forces and customs has had no impact upon supply, price or use. They can’t even keep drugs out of high security prisons.


31. “Heroin is a dangerous drug that damages your body.” Any street drug could be very damaging because illegality means the user hasn’t got a clue what’s in it. But clean pharmaceutical heroin (unlike alcohol) doesn’t cause any permanent damage to the body.


32. “Crack cocaine in pregnancy leads to permanently damaged ‘crack’ babies.” There is no consistent evidence to support this claim – from the longitudinal studies severe and enduring poverty appears to be the key factor that thwarts child progress and development not parental crack cocaine use during pregnancy. So instead of crying out about crack babies it would be more approapriate to get express concern over ‘poverty babies’. 


33. “Drug testing will help identify people who have a drug problem.”  Besides it’s unreliability – at best drug testing only indicates drug use it wont show pattern, time, place, nature or context of drug use. A positive results indicates drug use not problematic use.


34. “Law enforcement targets the most dangerous drugs.” Untrue, arrests and drug seizures for cannabis out number all the other drugs arrests combined. The war between drugs is largely a war on the relatively benign cannabis while the significantly more dangerous drug alcohol is enjoyed and promoted amongst law enforcement officials.


35. “People caught with cannabis don’t end up in prison.” Untrue, many certainly do.


36. “Drug law enforcement targets people who use drugs.” Levels of drug use across the white and black population are similar. However it depends upon the colour of your skin and your social status as to whether you will be targeted. If you are poor and have a minority ethnic heritage you are much more likely to be targeted – stopped, searched, arrested, prosecuted and subsequently sentenced – for drug defined crime. 


37. “Heroin during pregnancy will cause permanent harm to the unborn child.” Street heroin is a problem because you don’t know what’s in it. But clean pharmaceutical heroin causes no known permanent damage to a baby. Once recovered from withdrawal symptoms babies will have no permanent harm. However, alcohol taken during pregnancy can cause Foetal Alcohol Syndrome – a permanent condition.


38. “A drug free world is desirable.” Drugs have been used since records began for pain relief, treating sickness, for relaxation and social reasons. Alcohol, caffeine, tobacco are drugs and arguably cocoa, sugar and fat too. A world without drugs is unthinkable, undesirable and untenable.


39. “Illegal drugs kill people.” This is misleading because the majority of drug deaths are consequences of prohibition and a draconian drug policy that makes taking drugs uncertain and more dangerous and getting help risky. A lot of deaths could have otherwise been avoided. 


40. “Drug policy is based upon the best available evidence.” For decades research reports, reviews, inquiries, expert groups have provided mountain loads of evidence – but drug policy has repeatedly ignored the best available evidence and instead continued to uphold the principles of prohibition enshrined in the 1961 UN Single Convention. Drug policy is rooted in ideological beliefs and moral high ground not science and evidence.


41. “It’s a war on drugs.”  Untrue drugs have never been more accommodated, integrated or promoted. There is no war on alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, sugar, fat or BigPharma drugs.  It is a war on particular drugs that have been outlawed for political, social and economic reasons (not pharmacological or scientific reasons). It’s a ‘War Between Drugs’ enforced by an uncompromisingly tough Drug Apartheid.


42. “Regulation is the way forward.” Ideally, but it depends upon what regulation looks like. Not if that regulation (as illustrated in the New Zealand Psychoactive Substance Act 2013) means: you are now prohibited and punished for possession of substances not approved by the state (s.71 $500 fine); supply carries a 2 year prison sentence (s.70); all new psychoactive substances not listed in the Misuse of Drugs Act are automatically prohibited and the only way of acquiring ‘approved’ substances is through BigPharma or BigBusiness.


43. “Every day drug free is a another day of being clean.”  This is misleading, is anyone ever (and should they be?) drug free because we take caffeine, sugar, cocoa, aspirin, alcohol?  More importantly this statement wrongly insinuates taking a drug is wrong and dirty and without them we become ‘clean’.


44. “Alcohol occupies so much police time – imagine how bad it’d be if we legalise cannabis.”  There is no comparison these are two very different substances. The impact of any drug also depends more upon set and setting.  Better regulation will create controls of cannabis and alcohol – but prohibition provides no control whatsoever.


45. “Legalising drugs is dangerous because more people will use drugs.”  People who are currently using unknown (purity, toxicity, ingredients, strength) street drugs and risking a criminal record will be in a much safer position. In countries where drugs have been legalised or decriminalised there has not been any overall increase in drug use. However, it is dangerous and problematic drug use that should concern us not drug use per se.


46. “Cannabis use by drivers is leading to more deaths on the road.” Unfounded. There is evidence that cannabis is increasingly found in blood samples but this presence of cannabis in the blood stream could arise from use of cannabis days, weeks even months ago. Drug presence doesn’t mean impairment.


47. “Every drug death is further evidence of the dangers of drugs.”  Most drug deaths are a by-product of draconian drug policy that could be avoided by a combination of naloxone distribution, safer drug use education, drug testing kits, drug consumption rooms and less intolerance and stigma.


48. “The underground criminal business in drugs is enormous so we need tougher law enforcement.” Unfortunately it is prohibition that has created these conditions in the first instance, more enforcement will have little positive impact. However, regulation and decriminalisation would make a real positive difference significantly reducing the underground illegal drug business.


49. “Better that someone goes to Drug Court than prison.” Anything can appear palatable and justified if presented as an alternative to prison. Better that people who need help can access that help in the community following a thorough assessment and a best-fit treatment plan that has access to a full range of services, rather than having to access an enforced abstinence 12 step programmes through the criminal justice system.


50. “The world would be a better place without drugs.” Drugs are vital in medicine and pain relief, they are also important for relaxing, sleeping, socialising, providing energy, thinking laterally, creatively and artistically. Legal drugs alcohol, caffeine and tobacco are used for these purposes every day, although other illegal drugs might be safer and better suited.


51. “People grow out of taking drugs.”  While there is evidence that people grow out of criminal activity the use prohibited drugs involves criminal risks, so if there is a shift away from illegal drugs at a later age it’s not necessarily that people aren’t growing out of drugs but more likely people may grow out of accessing drugs if it involves criminal activity. There is no evidence people grow out of using the drugs alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.


SECTION 21: MOOT! Applications Will Not Be Authorised For Dagga

Dr Shyamli Munbodh Says Section 21 applications will not be authorised for dagga


I was lied to in the presence of the Public Protector senior investigator Nicky Maoka by Joey Gouws Director of the MCC regarding a section 21 application of medical cannabis. I was lied to on the public broadcaster the SABC by the spokesperson of the CDA regarding the same.

This is the FOB by Dr Shyamli Munbodh from the MCC/DOH – listen for yourself. – Andre du Plessis

Medical Dagga by CDA Peter Ucko



South African Medical Journal

Dagga is the common South African term which describes the coarse leaf-powder (containing seeds) made from the flowering top of the Indian hemp plant, botanically known as Cannabis. The hemp plant originated in Central Europe, but it now grows in most parts of the world, wild or in cultivation, as an annual. Any part of it, when rubbed between the fingers, gives off a characteristic minty odour, the flowering tops being slightly sticky to the touch. The hemp seed (chenevis) is used in the manufac­ture of varnish and paint. It was formerly used for soap­making. In hot, dry countries (the plains of India) the plant is cultivated to produce textile fibres. l

The inebriating properties of hemp have long been known. Herodotus 2 wrote that the plant was cultivated in Scythia and Thrace, and the inhabitants not only made clothes from it, but also intoxicated themselves by roasting the seeds on hot stones and breathing the vapours. To-day an imposing number of narcotic preparations· is made from the hemp plant for consumption by addicts all over the world. Drugs may be prepared for smoking (chira, hashish, marihuana, dagga) or for drinking (assis, chats­raki). In Eastern countries much ingenuity is devoted to the making of sweet-meats which contain the Cannabis resin in mixtures of almond, chocolate or honey; these substances have a reputation as aphrodisiacs in Arab medicine.

Drugs which produce addiction generally have effects regarded as pleasurable. That hemp has these properties is evident from the serious problem created by its control and use in the United States. The recent imprisonment of a group of film actors focussed fresh public attention on Cannabis addiction and showed that it is not confined to the lowest economic groups of the population. The impression is that in South Africa dagga is used chiefly by Coloured persons and a small number of the more degenerate Europeans. There is a strong popular dis­approval directed against it.

At the Grahamstown Medical Congress, in 1935, a resolution was passed asking the Minister of the Interior to arrange for an investigation of the likelihood that dagga smoking could produce psychotic states and intellectual deterioration. As a result a study of dagga smoking 3 was made by the staff of the Pretoria Mental Hospital.

Dagga is die algemeen bekende Suid-Afrikaanse term wat die growwe (saadbevattende) blaarpoeier beskryf wat van die blomtoppe van die lndiese hennep, in die plant­kunde bekend as Cannabis, gemaak word. Die hennep­plant het sy oorsprong in Sentraal-Europa maar dit groei nou wild of gekweek in die meeste dele van die wereld as ‘n jaarplant. Wanneer enige deel daarvan tussen die vingers gevryf word, het dit ‘d kenmerkende kruisement­agtige geur en die blomtoppe voel effens klewerig. Die hennepsaad (chenevis) word gebruik by die vervaardiging van vernis en verf. Dit is voorheen vir die maak van seep gebruik. In warm, droe lande (die vlaktes van Indic) word die plant vir tekstielvesels gekweek.l

Die bedwelmende eienskappe van hennep is reeds lank bekend. Herodotus 2 het geskryf dat die plant in Skithie en Thracie gekweek is en die bewoners het nie slegs klere daarvan gemaak nie maar het hulle ook bedwelm deur die saad op warm klippe te braai en die dampe in te asem. Op die oomblik word ‘n indrukwekkende aantal narkotiese preparate van die hennepplant vir verbruik deur verslaafdes oor die wereld gemaak. Verdowings­middels om te rook kan gemaak word (chira, hasjish, marijuana, dagga) of om te drink (assis, sjats-raki). In die lande van die Ooste word met veel vernuf lekkers gemaak wat die Cannabis-harpuis in mengsels van amandel, sjokolade of helJning bevat; in Arabiese geneeskunde word hierdie stowwe beskou as geslags· prikkelmiddels.

Verdowingsrniddels wat. verslaafdheid veroorsaak, het gewoonlik ‘n uitwerking wat as aangenaam beskou word. Oat hennep hierdie eienskap besit, blyk duidelik uit die ernstige probleem wat deur die beheer en gebruik daarvan in die Verenigde State van Amerika geskep is. Die onlangse gevangesetting van ‘n groep filmakteurs het opnuut die aandag van die publiek op verslaafdheid aan Cannabis gevestig en het getoon dat dit nie tot die laagste ekonomiese groepe van die bevolking beperk is nie. Die indruk bestaan dat dagga in Suid-Afrika hoofsaaklik deur Kleurlin~e en ‘n klein aantal ontaarde blankes gebruik word. Sterk afkeur van die oubliek is daarteen l!:emik.

Op die Grahamstadse Mediese Kongres van 1935 is ‘n besluit aanl!:eneem waarin die Minister van Binnelandse Sake gevra is om ‘n ondersoek te reel na die moontlikheid dat die rook van dagga psigotiese toestande en verstande· like agteruitgang kan veroorsaak. As gevolg daarvan is ‘n ondersoek na die rook van ~!!a 3 deur die personeel van die hospitaal vir sielsiekes te Pretoria gedoen.

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Dagga usage among medical students in Johannesburg SAMJ 16 APRIL 1983


in 19831020 undergraduate medical students at the University of the Witwatersrand was surveyed in 1981 as regards attitudes to and patterns of illicit drug use 868 completed the questionnaire; 32,4% had tried dagga (cannabis) and 16,4% were still using the drug. There was a large increase in the number of students using the drug as they advanced through
their studies (6% of the 1st-year class as against 24% of the 5th-year class). The timing of dagga use and previous experimentation with habit-forming drugs· are mentioned, and reasons for non-experimentation· and attitudes towards legalization of dagga are analysed.South African Medical Journal

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Cannabis addicts regard the smoking of hemp as a ‘way of life’. – Theodore James 1969
45 years later the Dagga Movement reminds the world that: Dagga is a healthy lifestyle, not a drug. Dagga is a way of life, not a crime.

South African Medical Journal

This communication is concerned with a topic that has not yet been publicly discussed or expressed. It is the outcome of inquiry into the problems pertaining to the indulgence in dagga by our so-called permissive society which has erupted all over the world, bearing in mind the indigenous characteristics and culture of the different regions.

In The Times of 24 July 1967 a conglomerate group of scientists, doctors and intellectual types asserted that ‘the law against marihuana is immoral in principle and un­workable in practice’. This is one of the various declara­tions which have been uttered in recent years for the abrogation of much of the law and the associated ideas against the taking of cannabis or dagga.

In the summary of the report of the Advisory Com­mittee on Drug Dependence’ it was stated that ‘cannabis is a potent drug having as wide a capacity as alcohol to alter mood, judgement and functional ability’, and The Lancet,’ citing this summary, agreed that it is a dangerous drug in that particular respect.

The purpose of this paper is to stress the considerable danger inherent in that ‘alteration of mood, judgement and functional ability’, and the driving of a motor vehicle. I know of no conviction for dangerous driving while ‘under the influence’ of dagga, but the reasons for this are pretty obvious. It is difficult enough to bring in a verdict of dangerous driving while under the influence of alcohol, without thrusting this infinitely more difficult proof upon the shoulders of the public prosecutor. Never­theless, the possibility, even probability, of such a com­bination of circumstances justifies its consideration.

It is not my wish to mention the pros and cons of dagga smoking, but some of the effects of dagga smoking upon human beings need to be described in order to appreciate their relationship with the act of driving a motor car. With all pious moralizing put aside, the grave nature of this relationship will disclose itself. Let it be acknowledged openly that the drug is able to excite unmixed pleasure when used moderately. Johnston3,. described its use as producing ‘an increase of pleasure’; it is ‘the exciter of desire, the cementer of friendship, the laughter-mover, and the causer of the reeling gait’. That was written 115 years ago. More detailed impressions have been forthcoming since his time and the sensory perceptions which are most commonly experienced and which have a direct bearing upon my topic are those which Thomas de Quincey so admirably expressed to convey his sensations after eating opium: time lengthens to infinity and space swells to immensity. These altered perceptions are very real to the dagga smoker of almost any type of character or temperament. Exaggeration is the cardinal manifesta­tion of most of the perceptive illusions when they are experienced. But exaggeration also expresses itself in the overt behaviour pattern which is derived from the basic character and temperament of the user of dagga. This is important in that the drug removes the veneer of conditioned civilized behaviour of an individual and exposes true character and temperament. If one be meek and mild the influence is to exaggerate this characteristic to inane bonhomie and fatuous friendliness. But if aggressiveness be the foundation-stone of his character which also evokes hostility, then quarrelsome and contentious is likely to be his pattern of behaviour. To the simple, primitive herds­man with his flock of sheep a pleasure derived has been the apparent large increase of his flock; whereas to the desert-dweller the pool of muddy water at the bottom of the wahdi has appeared to his magnifying eyes as the Selima Oasis.

The prolongation of seconds into minutes, minutes into hours, and hours into days is a remarkable but unexplained subjective cerebral phenomenon. Certainly, short periods of time are extended without any relationship with the actual passage of time, and such a disassociation of sub­jective awareness of time and actual time when the driver is under the influence of dagga, could be life-taking. There seems to be all the time in the world to carry out the particular manoeuvre indicated by the emergent cir­cumstances in which the driver finds himself, but in fact there are only a few seconds. This fact with its attendant hazards speaks for itself.

The other subjective and vivid awareness of a pro­longation and expansion of spatial dimensions can bring with it attendant danger. Two optical sensory fallacies, opposite in their direction, may occur but not in the same person during one episode of intoxication. One is the false impression of near objectives being seen very clearly at a far distance, and the other is exactly the reverse impres­sion-objects far away are like those pinpointed by the cine-camera and ‘zoomed’ within a second or two to within a few feet of the viewer. Whichever optical illusion is excited by the drug, the dangers involving the drugged driver also speak for themselves.

There are one or two important factors related to the use of dagga in the circumstances under discussion, and these are pharmacological facts. If the dagga is taken as smoke, the effects, if they are to be produced in the parti­cular individual (for much depends on the personality of the smoker and the quality of the dagga), will show them­selves in a few minutes. If this be the case and the quantity inhaled from a ‘good’ dagga cigarette is enough, it will be able to continue exciting the senses for as long as 9 hours.’ How an individual will respond to the intake of dagga in this manner is unpredictable at the start, and even afterwards his behaviour may be modified by his mood and state of health. It is unusual for 2 or more smokers to respond similarly to the same cigarette.

It is not uncommon for the effects of alcohol and dagga to be compared, but this comparison can be faulted. The likeness is superficial only. Alcohol induces a contraction of the personality and is essentially a de­pressant and not a stimulant, whereas dagga is curiously enough both stimulant and depressant but in different areas. Dagga does produce drowsiness and even sleep if the smoker be left undisturbed, but it is also capable of astonishing augmentation of physical strength. What is known about the time of onset and the duration of these pleasurable sensations is significant where driving a car is concerned. To drink alcohol to the blood-level of care­lessness is not necessarily a long undertaking and if this is followed by the drinker driving a car, then he does so with all his senses blunted as well as a degree of defective muscular co-ordination. Alcohol per se does not stimulate agreeable sensory perception, which dagga does, but by removing inhibitions it apparently expands the drinker’s personality. Dagga in moderation need not inco-ordinate the neuromuscular system; but it does falsify impressions to render them enjoyable, and this is where dagga and the driver become a dangerous combination. But dagga plus alcohol in the driver is even worse.

Although the taking of dagga, in South Africa almost always by smoking, is an illegal act in this country, the control of the drugs is extremely inadequate-if legal prose­cutions and convictions running into many thousands per annum are any indication (see below)-and it has be­come ‘permissive’ among the White ‘t~lite’ male youth of this country, whereas not so long ago it was only the ‘poor whites’ and non-Whites who were dagga smokers. Now­adays not only is it ‘permissive’, but among our younger citizens you are simply not ‘with it’ if you are not sociable enough to join in such delightful group activities! Any young man of 18 or so years of age, able to vote and drive a car, could, if he would, tell of friends or asso­ciates of his who indulge in the weed. High schools, colleges and universities have their habitues.


I have no recent figures for prosecutions and convictions for the crime of being in the possession of dagga, but 21 years ago the breakdown of convictions for this crime for the whole of the Union as it then was, was as follows:’ Whites 185, Coloureds 2 950, Bantu 10676 and Asiatics
205. It is most likely that the culprits were those resident in or near urban areas. There is no valid reason to believe that any diminution in the number of prosecutions and convictions-which 2 groups of civil offenders are prac­tically identical-has taken place over these 21 years, and there is every reason to believe that with a rapidly grow­ing population of all ethnic groups, together with a rise in the general standards of living, at a time when there is a strong drive for leniency or even condonation of erst­while misdeeds, the incidence of dagga smoking has in­creased enormously. As the pedlars might say, ‘It’s been good for trade’. Cannabis addicts regard the smoking of hemp as a ‘way of life’.


An attempt has been made to draw attention to a very probable lethal factor which could well be emerging onto our motor highways and prevalent mainly among our youth rising to manhood. This is the so-called ‘permissive’ smoking, although illegal, of dagga, marihuana, hashish, ‘pot’, ‘grass’­call it what you will. No solution to this probable problem is proposed; it is felt that an awareness of such a threatening situation will go some way towards its mitigation. An un­loaded gun is no more lethal than a walking-stick. A ‘loaded’ driver of a motor car is dangerous indeed.


  1. Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence (1969): Summary of Report on Cannabis. London: H.f\.1. Stationery Office.
  • Leading Article (1969): Lancet, 139.
  • J. F. W. (1855): Op cit.’
  • Baker-Bales, E. T. (1935): lancet. I. 811.
  • Interdepartmental Committee on lhe Abuse of Dagga (1952): Union of South Africa Reports W.G. No. 31.

‘Date received: 26 November 1969.

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DAGGA – A REVIEW OF FACT AND FANCY. Theodore James SAMJ 16 May 1970



‘Dagga’ is our word for marihuana, hashish, bhang, or Cannabis sativa L. But dagga is also the name applied to 14 species of the plant leonotis, indigenous and common in South Africa.1 The word has come into our English language via Afrikaans which derived it from pure Hotten­tot ‘daga’. It is only assumed that the idea in the Hotten­ tot mind which attached the word to the plant cannabis had to do with its remarkable qualities.

The fact that the name dagga refers to both cannabis and leonotis, 2 plants growing wild and readily in South Africa, has in the past given rise to much confusion among those who have interested themselves in the ‘dagga pro­blem’. This confusion appears to be’ based on, or originate primarily from, the superficial similarity of appearance of the two species of plant, and different people hold different opinions about which species is the ‘true’ dagga. The confusion is confounded still more by the properties which some writers have attributed to leonotis, compara­ble with those of cannabis, but which have been denied by others.1 An editorial in the Journaf during the editor­ship of Leipoldt, always an interesting controversialist, held that leonotis was the ‘original dagga’ but conceded that usage appeared to have firmly attached the name to cannabis, and for this reason we have been obliged to accept the word dagga in this relationship.

Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk,l the eminent botanists, regard cannabis as the ‘true’ dagga. These 2 authors, as a result of their investigation into the properties of the 2 plants, concluded that the smoking of leonotis ‘produced no symptoms apart from unpleasantness’.'” But contrarily, Die Ajrikaanse W oordeboek4 states unequivocally on its own authority ‘die rook van die blare en jong stingels dieselfde bedwelmende uitwerking het as by bogenoemde soorte (Cannabis)’ but which can be differentiated from the latter by such names as kaffer-, klip-, knop-, koppies-, malkop-, perde-, rooi(pootjie)-, strand-and velddagga.

Here we have 2 apparently ‘authoritative’ but contra­dictory statements about the potential intoxicant proper­ties of leonotis, and Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk have studied one variety of this series as far as the botanic minutiae are concerned but not with regard to the chemi­cal properties. The practical evidence, however, indicates that leonotis is not the species of plant which is smoked in South Africa for enjoyment, because all of 93 speci­mens produced in court in police prosecutions were with­out exception cannabis -indirect but acceptable evidence that it is dagga cannabis and not dagga leonotis which is smoked for the hedonistic pleasure it provides the smoker.

The fact that cannabis is prohibited by law in this country while leonotis may be freely grown, and that all convic­tions have been for the possession of cannabis, speaks volumes against leonotis having any of the virtues or vices of cannabis.

If we go back to the Hottentots’ practice of using dagga we can take it that the first description written in Southern Africa on the effects of cannabis was that by Governor

‘Date received: 26 November 1969.

Jan van Riebeeck ln his diary. He observed: ‘De Hau­cumguas, welcke. . . mede lantbouwen, daar se daccha in teelen, sijnde een droogh cruijt dat de Hottentoos eeten ende droncken van worden.’ It is of some interest to note that Van Riebeeck used the word eeten and not rooken!


Van Riebeeck’s diary informs us that the consumption of dagga was a well-established ‘way of life’ among the primitive Hottentots of the Cape before his arrival, ~~d this fact raises interesting speculation about the ongm of the habit among so aborjginal an ethnic group (Bush­men were also partakers of the weed) here at the southern­most tip of Africa, a custom that can be traced back to ancient times in the Middle East.

The plant has considerable agricultural and commercial importance, derived from the manufacture of fibre and oil for soap and oil-cake (which facts in themselves deter­mine that the common hemp will always be with us). The surmised route for the propagation of the plant is, or was, along the ancient ocean highway from the eastern Mediterranean along the Red Sea and southern coasts of Asia to the shores of Hindustan–one of the oldest routes along which migration of races took place in olden time~”

The presumption that the Hindi word bhang (cannabis) is the root of the Shangaan word mbangi, meaning dagga, has been justified. The implication extracted from this obvious identity of the 2 names for dagga, in 2 languages which have absolutely no etymological point of contact, is that the plant was first carried to the coast of Mozam­bique, which is the region of East Africa where Shang~an is spoken, by the Portuguese militant trade~s returmng from India (Cannabis sativa L. lndica). There It was plant­ed and thence spread by name and proliferation inland and southwards to reach the Venda people in the Soutpansberg of the Southern Transv~al, in~o whose .lan­guage it insinuated itself as mbanzhe (m whic? the Hindu origin can still be detected).’ But the tranSIt from the Venda to the Zulus of Natal substituted the name intsangu, and this in turn was replaced by dagga when it reached the Hottentots.

Other early observers along with Van Riebeeck have recorded the smoking of dagga by all the races of Southern Africa, Hottentot, Bushmen and Bantu. These indigenous inhabitants still adhere to the tradition that their ancestors have used dagga since time began, and so it is not possible to know how or when the custom of its social usage was introduced into any particular tribe.

This social usage among the Bantu is deserving of some additional comment if only to indicate the tribal and patriarchal approval of the practice among a people, like the Zulu, who are essentially a warrior-race. Very few Bantu women-with occasional exceptions among the elderly-smoked dagga and this temperance has been attr~­buted to, but not adequately explained by, 2 tribal condI­tions: firstly, the payment of cattle by the husband as lobola for their wives, who were expected to render full service in return, did not encourage such a ‘luilekkerland’

habit among the womenfolk; and, secondly, the fact that as the women had to do the routine work of the tribe there was no time for this kind of idleness.” In times past the bad effects of excessive dagga smok­ing, as with all excesses, were recognized for what they were, and immoderate use of the weed was despised by the elders of the tribe. Accustomed smokers used dagga in moderation and in somewhat formal fashion; intemper­ance was frowned upon then, and probably, among the rural Bantu, it is even now.”


Presently when dagga is being subjected to legislative, sociological, pharmacological, thological, deontological and even philosophical inquisition in different parts of the world where ‘permissiveness’ is accepted as a new way of life, where established taboos have been displayed as unacceptable superstitions by youth crusading against ancestral authority, it is opportune to notice how the Bantu, who have indulged themselves for centuries in the drug, are convinced about the effect experienced with its use. Their views agree in great measure with those of repu­ table investigators in the western world who have been commissioned to evaluate the influence of its use upon society.

The Bantu believed and have observed that dagga affects different individuals differently. The effect is closely tied to the inborn temperament of the smoker (or eater) of dagga. They do not, despite the law’s opposition, regard the habit as reprehensible unless it be taken to excess.

The Zulu and Xhosa-speaking Bantu have not accepted the official White man’s thinking; they deny that anything harmful arises from the moderate use of dagga. Bryanf has recorded in his account of the Zulu people that ‘young warriors were specially addicted and under the exciting stimulation of the drug were capable of accomplishing hazardous feats’. Here was reason enough for the young bloods of the tribe! The Bantu, on the other hand, do not regard the plant as having any aphrodisiac qualities; pa­rents whose young nubial sons have shown little or no interest in taking a wife have blamed the disinclination on dagga.

Wolff’: in South America, where the taking of cannabis (marihuana) is regarded by the governing authorities as a national evil, tried out the effects of the drug on 50 non-selected individuals who were asked to smoke it in a convivial environment without let or hin­drance of any kind, and he was able to separate 14 different kinds of reactions. He was not able to predict the type of reaction which would follow the smoking of marihuana but he was satisfied that the reaction to the drug was capable of revealing the true or real nature of the smoker’s character and personality.

In his group of 50 non-selected cases, only 7 did not show aggressiveness. Wo!ff, contrary to the viewpoint of the Bantu mentioned above, asserts that marihuana does stimulate sexual propensity and can ‘produce the psychic state of a Don Juan’. And he had enough ‘observed material to demonstrate that marihuana can also create criminal attitudes and acts’. He is also of opinion that addiction leads to general mental deterioration.

The leaders among the Coloured people of South Africa lean strongly towards Wo!ff’s conclusion arrived at in South America, and disagree with the opinion of the Bantu in their own country. They recognize the dagga habit as the companion of poverty, the cause of backwardness and the accomplice of crime; all these leading to unemploy­ment and disregard of personal respectability. They see dagga as a symptom as well as a cause of these conditions.

But even here, among this population group with a long experience of the use of dagga, there is a -considerable school of thought which does not believe the substance to be harmful … in moderation. But they will concede that dagga and alcoholic drinks (which are usually potent) can produce a much more dangerous and intense intoxi­cation than either alone, and that the effects of the combination are always harmful.

The Commissioner of Police, mentioned in a report of the authoritative Interdepartmental Committee on the Abuse of Dagga: recommended the provision of severe penalties for any form of traffic in the drug and that an institution be established for the treatment of addicts. He believed the consumption of dagga to be an important contributing factor in the incidence of crime. Twenty-one years ago the number of convictions for being in the possession of dagga was 14016, of which 185 were Whites, 2 950 Coloured, 205 Asiatic and 10 676 Bantu. These were convictions all over South Africa in one year.” The charges were for one crime, that of being in possession of dagga in whatever form, not having committed crimes while under the influence of dagga. A sameness with a difference.

More than 30 years ago Bromberg’ studied the effects of cannabis upon a number of individuals, and although he talked of toxic marihuana psychoses and described the manifestations of this state in some detail, he nevertheless concluded that ‘countless persons use marihuana without the development of an observable mental condition. In the acute intoxication no permanent effect is observable by psychiatric examination after the effects wear off in 1-3 days.’ He found in general that early use of the drug apparently did not predispose to crime. ‘No positive re­lation could be found between violent crime and the use of marihuana in cases observed in the psychiatric clinic. No cases of murder or of sexual crimes due to marihuana were established.’ Bromberg also reported that the lack of increased tolerance and the absence of demon­strable symptoms argue against the theory that mari­huana is habit-forming and that the use of marihuana is a ‘sensual addiction in the service of the hedonistic ele­ments of the personality’.

Bromberg does not appear to have changed his view­point since his first publication, for Wo!ffs flatly contradicts his conclusions as being derived from ‘material scarcely adequate for such deductions’. The ‘material’ consisted of observations made in courts-of-Iaw, clinics and prisons, and ‘it is the nature of criminal tendencies not to mani­fest themselves in the hospital, nor in the outpatient department nor at the judicial cross-examination’. Nor did Wolff consider the ‘experimental conditions’ to be right for prisoners to be given marihuana to smoke in surroundings of rigid discipline instead of ‘the bad but free environment to which they are accustomed’. Wolff added a criticism of Bromberg’s article by stating that it appeared that Bromberg in an effort to combat wideIy­ held and perhaps alarmist views of the dangers of mari­huana had ‘leaned too far back and minimized the long­term noxious effects’. The same criticism that was levelled by Wolff against Bromberg’s investigation might be di­rected against a report of an investigation into the mental symptoms associated with the smoking of dagga conducted by the Commissioner for Mental Hygiene in South Africa and published in 1938.]0 For all the participants in the trial were inmates of a mental hospital who were suffering from 9 varieties of mental illness, ranging from pure dagga psychosis to manic depressive psychosis. Any con­clusions that may have been arrived at from this attempt must be considered invalid, and this despite the terms of reference reading ‘to arrange for a controlled investi­gation into the possible relationship of dagga-smoking with acute psychotic conditions and with the ultimate production of a state of mental degeneration in addicts’.

A scanning of the world press”,ll of the past 40 years r’eveals a remarkable constancy of lights and shadows which blur the truth about the use of cannabis. In South Africa around 1934 the daily press was critical of official opinion and made a case for the harmlessness of dagga smoking, pointing out its use among the Bantu where it showed no evidence of being habit-forming. The press’ appeared to disapprove of the fact that during the year ending in 1934, out of 5885 convictions under the terms of the 5th Schedule of the Medical, Dental and Pharmacy Act,Ll 5 878 were for the possession of dagga, the remaining 7 being for opium.

Yet, across the ocean in North America the Canadian Medical Association Journal” thought fit to devote an editorial that same year to the availability and effects of cannabis upon the youth of Canada, the drug having been smuggled in from the USA. It mentions that as long ago as f931 cannabis cigarettes were being passed to boys and girls. It referred to ‘the experience in all countries that hashish has a special appeal for the young, not that they crave the drug, at least at first, but they use it to appear “smart”. They have not at any time been addicts of morphine, etc.’ Another point made was that the drug has a peculiar fascination for certain types of character, and because there is no depression or nausea following its use, this becomes an added attraction. The Lancd” noticed tpis editorial and quoted that marihuana cigar­ettes were on sale in cabarets and night-clubs, were even hawked about to young boys and girls, and were peddled iD. dance-halls; and that the traffic in Indian hemp had attained the proportions of an industry with widespread ramifications. Opinion was also expressed that it was the heavy restrictions on the ‘hard’ drugs (heroin, cocaine) that induced the smoking of cannabis.

The New York Times” published an article on the ‘Increasing menace of marijuana’ in the same year. Ac­cording to the report there was little or no control exer­cised over the buying and selling of cannabis in the United States. There is no control today. So it cannot be justifia­bly said that circumstances pertaining to the traffic in dagga are any different, i.e. any better, or any worse; they are surely very much in statu quo.

The question arises: does enforcement or, rather, attempted enforcement of the law help? This leads us to The Times of London, which on 24 July 1967 published a very provocative statement signed by a set of scientists, doctors and intellectuals who urged that ‘the law against marihuana is immoral in principle and unworkable in practice’, and this was only one of many demands for more ‘permissive’ tolerance of the drug.” This modern attitude by quite influential people could have been a distorted echo of a leader in The Lancet'” in 1963 which suggested that the argument for legalizing the import and consumption of cannabis (in England) was worth con­sidering. The Lancet had occasion later to regret using the words ‘worth considering’, for all who read them took them to mean that The Lancet supported the legalization of the drug in England.

The British Home Office,” in 1967, made it known that some 97% of all heroin addicts known to the Home Office had a previous history of taking cannabis. In the British Houses of Parliament that same year the Under-Secretary for the Home Office” deprecated any suggestions that cannabis was not a serious question. He said that there was more traffic in, and consumption of, cannabis than any other drug under international control. Perhaps there is some significance in the fact that 2 countries with a vast experience of the smoking of cannabis, Egypt and South Africa, should separately and in different years have made special representations to the League of Na­tions on the subject of cannabis. In 1923 it was the express wish of South Africa that dagga be included in the list of narcotic drugs which, previously, had included almost only opium and its derivatives.s Two years later the Egyp­tian delegate to the second conference on opium of the League stated that 30 -60% of those patients suffering from insanity in Egypt were cases of ‘chronic hashishism’.’s

Bourhill,19 in 1913, submitted his thesis to the Univer­sity of Edinburgh on the evils resulting from the smoking of dagga among the native races of South Africa, and among the evils he included admissions of dagga lunacy to the mental hospitals. These lunatics were often danger­ous to person and property. The recovery rate was high but the frequency of relapses supported suspicion that the continued habit was liable to produce a chronic psy­chosis. Blair,'” writing on this aspect of dagga addiction, stated simply, ‘the cannabis smoker nearly always becomes an imbecile in time’.

A leading article in The Lancet’tl of January 1969 ap­peared to sympathize with a proposal to lessen the penal­ties currently imposed upon anyone connected with the illegal use of cannabis. The sympathy was activated by the summing up of a report on cannabis by the Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence,'” in England, which read, ‘Not withstanding the limits of present knowledge, it is clear that cannabis is a potent drug having as wide a capacity as alcohol to alter mood, judgement and func­tional ability. In that sense, we agree … that cannabis is a “dangerous drug.” But we think it is also clear that, in terms of physical harmfulness, cannabis is very much less dangerous than the opiates, amphetamines, and bar­biturates, and also less dangerous than alcohol.’ The British Medical Journal,” in an editorial entitled ‘Potted dreams’, came out strongly against this proposed lessening of penalties for a drug that ’causes mental disorientation’. The Lancet could not uncover any reports of persistent psychotic states following cannabis, and although acute psychoses are recognizable and usually pass away un­eventfully, the existence of a persistent ‘cannabis psychosis’ was regarded as doubtful.” Is it possible to reconcile some or all of these conflicting points of view?


The ‘official’ influence last appeared in the British Phar­maceutical Codex of 1949,” for the monographs on canna­bis have been omitted from the later editions. After a discussion of the nature of the constituents of the herb it elaborated thus: ‘Cannabis depresses first the higher critical faculties and later perceptive sensory and motor areas of the cerebrum. In some persons, particularly orien­tals, it produces a type of inebriation with a feeling of pleasurable excitement and some mental confusion, fan­tastic or erotic hallucinations and a loss of the ability to estimate time and space; later decreased sensitiveness to touch and pain, as well as muscular lethargy and relaxa­tion precede the onset of a comatose sleep in which respi­ration is slowed and the pupils are dilated. In other per­sons it may cause only lethargy with some irritability of temper. Cannabis is a habit-forming drug and habitues often become insane; amongst orientals it is taken as a drink or conserve or smoked in pipes or cigarettes under the names of chavas, ganjah, guaza, bhang, and hashish; in South Africa it is smoked under the name of dagga and in Mexico and Brazil it is the active ingredient of marihuana cigarettes. Cannabis is too unreliable in action to be of value in therapeutics as a cerebral sedative or narcotic and its former use in mania and nervous disor­ders has been abandoned.’

Nearly all the published work dealing with the intoxi­cant effect of cannabis upon people treats the subject on a generalized basis, and on these generalizations formulated from studies conducted on groups of people grossly differ­ent in culture, character and temperament, ethnic origins and physical and intellectual development, are erected moral injunctions and legal prohibitions. There are very few recorded first-hand clinical observations and assessments in our medical literature presented as case histories and none in South African medical literature, which is sur­prising for a country with such a long experience with the drug. It may be partly explained, perhaps, by the legal restrictions upon its enjoyment.

Dr Elizabeth Tylden,” however, had reason to write of her experience over many years of use of the drug, both at her childhood home in the Orange Free State and present­ly in England. She describes some of the smokers of hemp on her farm in the Orange Free State as being what today would be called, in the vernacular, ‘potheads’ and being ‘stoned out of their minds’. This was the result of constant dagga smoking and, in our vernacular of long standing, a ‘ware daggakop’. She has detailed histories of 40 addicts and is able to document the deleterious influence upon character with a change in personality. Her addicts, whom she called her chronic patients, looked ill and were ema­ciated despite enormous appetite and thirst. A significant observation which she makes from her sad experiences with consumers of the drug is that she dreaded ‘a crop of cannabis psychosis to supplement the diminishing men­tal hospital population’.

Thirty-five years ago Fleming’· had clinical experience of a ‘new’ case of acute dagga psychosis which was pre­ sented by Baker-Bates,” with detailed clinical appraisal of the condition as it manifested itself in a healthy young woman with an English cultural background. It arose in a curiously interesting fashion. A young man who had grown his own cannabis plant at home (having obtained the seed from a quantity of parrot food) made a cigarette from the flowering plant which he smoked out of pure curiosity originating from his reading on the subject. His delightful loss of sense for actual time and space dimen­sions, his vivid dreams or hallucinations and subsequent drowsiness proved of such interest to his fiancee that her curiosity was aroused, for she was incredulous of her fiance’s experience. She tried two-thirds of a cigarette made from the top of a fruity plant.

Soon afterwards she fell asleep and a few minutes later, when disturbed, awoke with a start and showed apprehension.Her eyes were bright, her hands were twitching, and she appeared intoxicated. She asked where she was, probably being deceived bv hallucinations, but seemed happy. Fifteen minutes later she \vas taken for a short walk which was interrupted by outbursts of laughter and of affection. Her speech becameslurred from dryness of the mouth and her gait increasingly unsteady. Twenty minutes later she was taken to a doctor who recorded that she was pale, but able to stand and walk, although feeling dizzy. She was very excited and talkative and made stiff purposeless movements with her hands. She was highly emotional towards her companion; at one moment gay, she was next anxious and said she felt ‘enclosed’. She exag­gerated the passage of time and was confused about spatial dimensions. Her tongue and mouth felt parched and words were pronounced with difficulty while sentences lapsed into incoherencies. Her eyelids were half-closed, while the pupils dilated but reacted to light. The pulse was rapid but strong. At 11 p.m. (50 minutes after smoking the cigarette) she was in a collapsed condition. Her symptoms were then loss of powerin her legs and inability to stand. Dizziness, dryness of the mouth and palpitation and lengthened estimations of the passage of time continued. She believed her condition had lasted for many hours and although she was fully conscious of her existence she imagined she was ‘outside her own body’, a hallucination of dual personality, enclosed in a small space and surrounded by a mist from which she could not escape. This imaginary mist did not impair her vision for distant objects. Examination also showed her speech to be confused, rambling, and often inarticulate. She was unable to stand steadily without support and showed great inco-ordination ofmovements of the hands. There was tachycardia (l40jmin) and also marked inspiratory dyspnoea. No other abnormality was found. She was treated in a general manner for ‘shock’ and sherecovered after 9 hours, when there was no sequela other than a severe headache.

This is the practically verbatim case report published in The Lancet. Its meticulous detail in a case of cannabis acute intoxication has not been matched in any publica­tion in our medical literature. And this was the outcome of smoking two-thirds of a dagga cigarette made from the fruit of a cultivated plant, a true Cannabis sativa L.!


These two drugs are often compared but the resemblance under close observation of the 2 forms of intoxication is only superficial. A brief description of the effects of im­bibed alcohol on the human being, written 150 years ago,:S cannot be improved upon. The pleasure given by alcohol is always rapidly mounting, and tending to a crisis, after which it as rapidly declines. In comparison the effect of cannabis (when of good quality), once effective, remains stationary for 8 -10 hours. The first is a case of acute, the second of ‘chronic’, pleasure; the one is a flickering flame, the other a steady and equable glow. Wine disorders the mental faculties. Cannabis enables one to say sharp and witty things. Pleasant ideas flit through the mind with a wonderful rapidity, so that time seems much extended. Alcohol robs a man of his self-possession. Cannabis taken moderately reinforces physical strength. Alcohol ‘unsettles the judgement, and gives a preternatural brightness and a vivid exaltation to the contempts and the admirations, to the loves and the hatreds, of the drinker’. Cannabis produces a pleasurable sensation of mild intoxication and the smoker or eater is particularly gay, joyous and pleased with everything. He will laugh and smile on the slightest provocation. Both give ‘an expansion to the heart and the benevolent affections’; but cannabis does not, as with alcohol, give rise to ‘the sudden development of kind­heartedness, always more or less of a maudlin and a transitory character, which exposes it to the contempt of the bystander. Men shake hands, shed tears, and swear eternal friendship-no mortal knows why; and the animal nature is clearly uppermost. True it is that even wine up to certain point, and with certain men, rather tends to exalt and to steady ‘the intellect … it may advantageously affect the faculties, brighten and intensify the consciousness and give to the mind a feeling of ponderibus librata suis.’

However, there is this likeness that alcohol and cannabis can both show a man’s true character. Alcohol, however, will ‘constantly lead a man to the brink of absurdity and extravagance; and beyond a certain point, it is sure to volatilize and to disperse the intellectual energies. A man who is inebriated, or tending to inebriation, is, and feels that he is, in a condition which calls up into supremacy the merely human, too often the brutal, part of his nature.’

There is this other very marked difference: Alcohol is notorious for that extremely unpleasant state of mental and physical distress which in the vernacular goes by the name ‘hangover’, which can vary considerably in its unhappy manifestations according to the types of alcohol imbibed and other associated means of raising the spirits. Cannabis, on the contrary, wiU permit the user to awaken refreshed even though his surroundings may feel unreal for an hour or so. There is usually no headache. An ex­cellent appetite is a common sequel.


Although in South Africa very little has been published in the medical journals about the clinical aspects asso­ciated with indulgence in dagga, its age-old and wide­spread use in certain sections of our population has evolved an argot about itself that is, perhaps, more in­formative of its short-term and long-term effects than any number of controlled studies.

Regular smokers recognize a good-quality dagga by its smell and by rubbing it with the fingers, and for this they will pay high prices. They know also that ‘good’ dagga is only produced in certain areas where both heat and a good rainfall favour abundant growth and tran­spiration with consequent concentration of resins in the leaf.” This is of gre~t meaning and it demands serious consideration by all those who may be concerned in assessing the harmlessness or evils in connection with cannabis. Woltr was astutely aware of these factors when he was investigating the plant in South America and Brazil. He said its ‘action is destructive of both character and intelligence’ but only after recognizing that any ‘delirium’ depends upon the concentration of the drug according to its locality of growth and on the sufficiency or not of the resin in the plants due to particular climate and soil. This I believe to be the nub of the disagree­ments and inconstancy associated with experience, thoughts and opinions about cannabis. It is grown all over the world in different climates and soils, and from all over the world we get different reports and impressions of its effects upon human beings. Hence we get comments made such as ‘hashish has been in general use among Eastern peoples as a means of producing ecstasy from remote antiquity”” but in that part of the world the user takes the dried flowering tops of cultivated female plants which are coated with resin (gunjah or ganga), or the resin he scrapes off the leaves or the dried leaves them­selves, and as with the hashish eaters of the Middle East (persia, Arabia, Egypt) the resin is compounded into a flavoured sweetmeat or syrup. This method of ingestion acts somewhat differently from smoking. With high dosage extraordinary feats of valour, derring-do, or running amuck become manifest, for it was in this way that the assassin sect at the time of the early Crusades excited their devoted exterminators to remove unwanted individuals, their zeal for the job being heightened by the consumption of the drug.

If the drug be taken by mouth, absorption is greatly aided if it is taken an hour before a meal. Its action is then felt within 2 hours. If it is taken after a meal no result may be detectable for as long as 6 hours. Of the com­bined effects of stimulation and depression of the cerebral cortex when the drug is taken by mouth, it is the latter effect which is said to predominate’·

In South Africa the general custom for seeking a degree of intoxication has for long been that of smoking the herb. A method popularly practised before legal prohi­bition, but now only occasionally, was to smoke it through water held in the mouth, or kept in the dagga pipe, hence the expression ‘die daggapyp laat gorreI’. Bantu, Bushmen, Hottentots and Coloureds used essentially the same method. By drawing the smoke through water in a pipe the smoker does not have to hold water in his mouth, the objective being to cool the fumes; an accompanying physical change is a condensation of the volatile active principle before it enters his lungs. Prohibition has ren­dered this method not readily practicable, for it demands relaxation and leisure; one result of this is to make the smokers draw harder on pipe or cigarette, and faster, so generating more heat and volatilizing more of the principle to enter their lungs.”

Besides the quality or effectiveness of the plant varying greatly according to the environmental conditions of climate, soil, season and so on, as mentioned the state of the individual smoking it is also of much importance. There is considerable variation of cannabis” and consider­able variation of personality; the variety of combination of the 2 factors appears to produce a variety of symptoms’ or states of euphoria. There is a striking similarity here with opium. ‘The varieties of the effect produced on different constitutions are infinite.”s It could well be this
factual variety of response to the intake of dagga that may have something to do with the variety of impressions which have been uttered. Cannabis is reputed to cause
sexual excitement, but there are many who deny this; if there is evidence of sexual excitement the psychological make-up of the smoker probably has much to do with
it. The lack of inhibition induced by the drug’s erotic charm and images may be conducive to this effect.

This is a review of practically all the factors both real and unreal which appear to motivate the opinions and actions of many enquirers and authorities who are concerned with the
growing world menace of drug addiction, but with dagga in particular. The conclusions arrived at by special investigators and committees about the effects of dagga on the human being
are that, in the main, they are detrimental to man, physically, mentally, and morally; that if it does not produce psychotic states it does produce very definite moral deterioration. If
these conclusions are accepted on the evidence available by controlling governmental authority they could well find critics who also, on the evidence available, could declare that the
conclusions are too rigid and even exclusive of facts which should be seriously considered before any legislative action is introduced.


This communication is concerned with a topic that has not yet been publicly discussed or expressed. It is the outcome of inquiry into the problems pertaining to the indulgence in dagga by our so-called permissive society which has erupted all over the world, bearing in mind the indigenous characteristics and culture of the different regions.

In The Times of 24 July 1967 a conglomerate group of scientists, doctors and intellectual types asserted that ‘the law against marihuana is immoral in principle and un­workable in practice’. This is one of the various declara­tions which have been uttered in recent years for the abrogation of much of the law and the associated ideas against the taking of cannabis or dagga.

In the summary of the report of the Advisory Com­mittee on Drug Dependence’ it was stated that ‘cannabis is a potent drug having as wide a capacity as alcohol to alter mood, judgement and functional ability’, and The Lancet,’ citing this summary, agreed that it is a dangerous drug in that particular respect.

The purpose of this paper is to stress the considerable danger inherent in that ‘alteration of mood, judgement and functional ability’, and the driving of a motor vehicle. I know of no conviction for dangerous driving while ‘under the influence’ of dagga, but the reasons for this are pretty obvious. It is difficult enough to bring in a verdict of dangerous driving while under the influence

‘Date received: 26 November 1969.

of alcohol, without thrusting this infinitely more difficult proof upon the shoulders of the public prosecutor. Never­theless, the possibility, even probability, of such a com­bination of circumstances justifies its consideration.

It is not my wish to mention the pros and cons of dagga smoking, but some of the effects of dagga smoking upon human beings need to be described in order to appreciate their relationship with the act of driving a motor car. With all pious moralizing put aside, the grave nature of this relationship will disclose itself. Let it be acknowledged openly that the drug is able to excite unmixed pleasure when used moderately. Johnston3,. described its use as producing ‘an increase of pleasure’; it is ‘the exciter of desire, the cementer of friendship, the laughter-mover, and the causer of the reeling gait’. That was written 115 years ago. More detailed impressions have been forthcoming since his time and the sensory perceptions which are most commonly experienced and which have a direct bearing upon my topic are those which Thomas de Quincey so admirably expressed to convey his sensations after eating opium: time lengthens to infinity and space swells to immensity. These altered perceptions are very real to the dagga smoker of almost any type of character or temperament. Exaggeration is the cardinal manifesta­tion of most of the perceptive illusions when they are experienced. But exaggeration also expresses itself in the overt behaviour pattern which is derived from the basic character and temperament of the user of dagga. This is important in that the drug removes the veneer of con­ (Continues in another document)


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Life is treating us well and the people here. We take it everyday at a time.

How did you meet?
Roxy -Through one friend of mine. A very good friend of mine. We are close, she is also transgender like me. He was coming out of jail for three years, that’s how I met him. Its been four years now.

Mervin, do you mind me asking what you were in jail for?
Mervin- For smoking ganja.
Roxy- For stupid things.

Three years for ganja?
Roxy- Especially when they know you are here, they want to spite you. Especially like they know you are living on the streets so you got nothing for them.

Is that a normal sentence three years for smoking weed?
Roxy- Yes, some people get more than three years. It all depends how many grams of dagga you have.

Oh did you have hash because hash comes with a harder sentence? Mervin- I had the good grade.
I see that makes sense, the good grade would get you more time.

Roxy, Do you mind taking about being transgender?
Roxy- Its not easy, but it is something that is special and unique. You know who you are and what you want in life. You are not going to let yourself be criticized by other people.

Maybe you know who you are but to someone who feels lost or confused as they don’t understand what they are going through?
Its always better when you talk to someone about it.


TSB Driver Found In Possesion of Dagga Worth R500k Trial Postponed

On Monday morning the driver, who was found in possession of half a million rand’s worth of dagga in a TSB delivery truck, reappeared in court. His trial had been postponed to October 29 for further investigation.


MALALANE – On Monday morning the driver, who was found in possession of half a million rand’s worth of dagga in a TSB delivery truck, reappeared in court. His trial had been postponed to October 29 for further investigation.

The accused Mr Gebhuza Ngwenya (54) was charged with dealing in dagga after the search-and-seizure process had been conducted by the police. They discovered 14 bags of compressed dagga on top of a sugar load in the truck. Ngwenya was reportedly on his way to make a delivery in Johannesburg.

“The vehicle was pulled off after police had received an anonymous tip-off. A large TSB truck was allegedly pulling two trailers loaded with dagga,” Nkosi said. He said they immediately set up a roadblock on the N4 east. The truck had been identified and the driver was instructed to go to the police station.

“TSB has vehemently denied any involvement in the transportation of dagga.” According to the company, the truck passed security checks. “It was loaded on Sunday September 13 at 22:30 and left the premises thereafter. The dagga was loaded post-dispatch as all trucks went through the security checks at the exit gate,” said Vusi Khoza, TSB spokesman.

“We do not exactly know where the dagga was loaded,” said Nkosi. The officers could not weigh it at the post office due to its size, and had to take it to a nearby weighbridge.

It weighed in at 340kg and had an estimated street value of R510 000. Ngwenya appeared in the periodic court the following day and had been granted bail of R5 000.

Neuroscience Researcher Needs Young Heavy Smoking Volunteers for Study:Umcwaningi Udinga Ababhemayo!

I’m an acoustical neuroscience researcher, I’m looking for adult volunteers who are heavy smokers or substance users (one of 2 substances: whoonga or cannabis), and also those who have quit smoking these substances and who have been clean for 6 months or longer (i.e. who have completed their rehabilitation program), to be tested as part of my research studies EXPLORING EFFECT OF SMOKING HEAVILY ON BRAIN FUNCTIONING. All subjects (i.e. volunteers for testing a research study) must be healthy, and will be paid a stipend (R50-R200) for their participation in this research for about 2-4 days per person (+-2hrs each day)! SMS must answer all the questions & include your true email address so I could email you a preliminary questionnaire/form to complete & sign and then return to me: SMS the info: (i) your date of birth=current age (Example: I was born on 15 Jan 1995=19yrs old now),  (ii) sex/gender,  (iii) highest educational attainment=total number of years of formal schooling, (iv) area where you live, and (v) full/true name of substance/drug you have been smoking for at least 3 years non-stop (i.e. substance you smoke heavily without any control to stop) or drug you have just been rehabilitated to stop using/addiction to, to 0715286665. ALL YOUR ANSWERS MUST BE TRUTHFUL! Your info will be kept confidential and will not be passed to any 3rd party, only the researcher will know your real name & surname.


Umcwaningi udinga abazovoluntiya ukuthi bahlolwe: abantu abasebasha (iminyaka yobudala kusukela ku-19 kuyaku 36) ababhemayo kakhulu, kanye nalabo asebenesikhathi esiyizinyanga eziyi-6 noma ngaphezulu kusukela beyekile ukubhema into efanayo (okusho ukuthi asebaluqeda uhlelo lokuhlumeleliswa futhi abangasabhemi lutho) ukuba bazothestwa njengengxenye yocwaningo OLUZAMA UKUTHOLA OKUDALEKA EBUCHOSHENI KUBANTU ABABHEMAYO KAKHULU. ***Qaphela: Kudingeka ababhema okukodwa noma kobubili kwalokhu = iwunga NOMA insangu (okwamanje). Abafisayo ukuthestwa akube abantu abaphile saka, bazokhokhelwa R50 kuyaku R200: ukuthestwa kuthatha 2-4 izinsuku umuntu emunye (+-2 amahora ngosuku)! Thumela i-SMS ufake nekheli le-email lakho. Le-SMS yakho ayiphendule yonke lemibuzo ukuze ngikuthumelele ifomu ozoyigcwalisa futhi uyisayine: (i) Usuku owazalwa ngalo=iminyaka yobudala, (ii) ubulili bakho, (iii)  ibanga eliphezulu lemfundo owafinyelela kulo=iyonke iminyaka owayihlala esikoleni ufunda, (iv) igama eliphelele lendawo ohlala kuyo, kanye (v) negama eliphelele lento oyibhemayo kakhulu noma osanda kuhlumeleliswa ukuthi uyeke ukuba yisigqila sokuyibhema. Thumela izimpendulo nge-SMS ku 0715286665. ZONKE IZIMPENDULO ZAKHO AZIBE YIQINISO LODWA! Imininingwane yakho izogcinwa iyimfihlo engasoze yadluliselwa komunye umuntu noma inhlangano, umcwaningi kuphela onelungelo lokwazi nokugcina igama nesibonga sakho sangempela.

This is a scientific research for university degree and scientific journal publication that never reveal real names of research subjects [ONLY THE RESEARCHER’s FULL NAMES & HIS or HER UNIVERSITY ADDRESS ARE MADE PUBLIC], who are ONLY INCLUDED UPON SIGNING INFORMED CONSENT AGREEMENT FORM (to be given later on your 1st day/interview day). Lokhu wucwaningo lwesayensi lweziqu zasenyuvesi kanye nokushicilelwa kwijonali yocwaningo lesayensi engalinge iveze amagama angempela abantu abathestiwe ocwaningweni [YIGAMA LOMCWANINGI kanye NEKHELI NENYUVESI YAKHE ANEKELWA IZWE], okuqalwa nokuthi basayine okubizwa nge-INFORMED CONSENT (ngosuku lokuqala/lwenhlolokhono). ***Advert kept on file=Isikhangiso silondoloziwe!

Contact Number: 0715286665

Time to extend pockets of excellence in fight to beat cancer BY WILMOT JAMES

MARIJUANA has properties that moderate pain. Its use brings relief to cancer sufferers, as brought into focus recently by the tragic death of Inkatha Freedom Party MP, Mario Oriani-Ambrosini. Marijuana does not prevent cancer, nothing does. It is most likely the most intractable unsolved medical science problem of our day. Neither does it replace existing medical interventions such as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or viral-based therapies that in certain defined instances can break down tumours after the cancer has taken hold.

Melanoma treated with dagga oil

No matter which marijuana strains are used, it bears repeating that it neither prevents nor therapeutically is capable of treating cancer. Depending on how far the cancer has spread, marijuana’s greatest benefit is to reduce pain and then only up to a point. In this respect it is uncontroversial if pain moderation (and other possible) properties are clinically verified, its use should be decriminalised for medical use. To do so does not require the commercialisation of production or distribution of marijuana.

These aspects are, as a matter of fact, not relevant in the least to the thrust of what needs to be done with the Medical Innovation Bill (a private member’s bill) introduced initially by Oriani-Ambrosini. Marijuana can be obtained by special dispensation, or it can be specially grown on experimental farms under the watchful eye of, for example, the Agricultural Research Council. Marijuana supply is a wholly separate issue from its appropriate medical use. This is why we propose that the issue of commercialisation of marijuana should be stripped from the bill.

In any event, we should not fixate on marijuana only. There are other plant-derived applications too. Though he overstates his case, Daniel Webster (in Botanical Oncology, 2014, Panaxea Publishing) provides considerable detail on well over 200 botanical health applications that may provide some benefit to cancer sufferers: “Many botanical substances,” Webster writes, “have good anti-inflammatory properties, can increase healing and stimulate immune response … botanicals have extensive properties to manage side-effects, overcome multidrug resistance and even increase the efficacy of chemotherapy.”

Of course, all these hypotheses should be subject to rigorous clinical scrutiny. But even if they were to pass the tough tests of clinical medicine, it must be said that plant-derived applications have some relevance when it comes to treating, but are not in the least significant when it comes to the real war involved in solving the problem of cancer.

To solve the cancer problem, requires a breakthrough in science that for now has proved elusive. That a breakthrough has not yet occurred gives no comfort to cancer sufferers, but that is no reason to give up on the scientific enterprise, which constitutes the only method in human history to generate consistently reliable therapies for many communicable and noncommunicable diseases.

Our understanding of what cancer is has advanced in leaps and bounds. In summary form, this is what we know about tumour cells and the onset of cancer (see Harvey Lodish et al, Molecular Cell Biology, 2012, chapter 24 Cancer):

  • Cancer is a fundamental aberration in the behaviour of cells. Most cell types of the body can give rise to malignant tumour cells.
  • Cancer cells can multiply in the absence of growth-promoting factors required for the proliferation of normal cells and are resistant to genetic signals that normally programme necessary cell death.
  • Cancer cells also invade surrounding tissues by breaking through the boundaries that define them and spreading through the body to establish secondary areas of growth.
  • Both primary and secondary tumours require the recruitment of new blood vessels in order to grow to a large mass.
  • Certain cultured cells infected with tumour-cell DNA undergo transformation. Such transformed cells share many properties with tumour cells.
  • The requirement for multiple genetic mutations in cancer formation is consistent with the observed increase in the incidence of human cancers as we grow older. Most of such mutations are not heritable.

While there have been major advances in integrating radio, chemical, genetic and botanical therapies, ongoing research is promising but has yet to yield prevention and curative breakthroughs. A noteworthy advance is gene therapy, but it is out of reach to most because at this time it is expensive and available only as part of clinical trials. Gene therapy is a treatment that involves altering the body’s genes (think of genes as “coding instructions”) to stop disease. Gene therapy replaces a faulty gene or adds a new gene in an attempt to cure disease or help our bodies’ ability to fight disease using existing immunity tools. It holds promise for treating cancer, cystic fibrosis, heart disease, diabetes, haemophilia and AIDS.

There are therefore compelling reasons to continue investing in advancing the science of cancer, chief among which is the ethical obligation to save human lives. It is in this respect that the Medical Innovation Bill should be redrafted to provide for a dedicated facility to co-ordinate existing and introduce new areas of research and treatment for cancers that tend to be most prevalent in the South African population.

During a recent visit to the biomedical research hub at Biopolis in Singapore, I was struck by how they, thinking and planning ahead, structured their high-level research to deal in an organised way with Southeast Asia’s disease burden, including cancers. Accordingly, Biopolis’s scientists have begun to establish the first stages in developing a therapeutic antibody pipeline by working with cancer stem, tumour-initiating and triple-negative breast cancer cells. They also developed a speciality in the early prognosis of gastric, liver and blood cancers in their populations of Chinese, Malaysian and Indian descent.

Even with lesser resources, thinking ahead, we should do the same here. We have pockets of excellence in cancer-related work at some of our universities, private hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and the Medical Research Council, but as an enterprise it is dissipated, unfocused, poorly resourced and without the right distribution of brain power. If nothing else Oriani-Ambrosini’s Medical Innovation Bill should focus our efforts.

• James is the Democratic Alliance’s shadow health minister

Police search for drugs at Cape school

Cape Town – At least four pupils from a Wynberg high school have been expelled and four others have disciplinary hearings pending for either using or dealing in drugs.

The situation is so serious that random search-and-seizure operations have been conducted by the police at Wittebome High School throughout the year.

“These form part of our broader campaign to improve safety in our schools,” Education Minister Debbie Schäfer’s spokesperson Jessica Shelver said.

The Western Cape Education Department confirmed that two pupils attended disciplinary hearings last month and the disciplinary committee had recommended expulsion in both cases.

Shelver said four pupils from Wittebome High had been expelled this year, one of whom was in matric. There were four cases pending and one also involved a matriculant.

She could not give further details about the cases because the minister was the final appeal authority, but said the department’s Safe Schools directorate had been working with Wittebome High after the principal reported that he suspected a group of pupils were using and dealing in drugs.

Pupils who tested positive for drugs had been referred for counselling.

According to Shelver, last year the department received 96 applications for expulsion from schools in the Western Cape for drug possession and/or use, and 38 were expelled.”

It had also received 48 applications for expulsion in the same year for dealing and/or distribution of drugs at schools. Of these, 36 were expelled. The vast majority of cases were for provision of dagga to other pupils.

In all cases, irrespective of the decision by the head of department, pupils involved with drugs were referred to the district-based support services for additional therapeutic support, and many were also referred to external rehabilitation programmes.

The provincial Education Department has encouraged schools to conduct their own search-and-seizure operations should they reasonably suspect any pupils of carrying any dangerous weapons.

It urged parents to use the department’s hotline at 0800 45 46 47 for counselling and assistance.

Wittebome High’s principal could not be reached for comment.

Phoenix man and woman arrested for dealing in dagga

The total value of the recovered dagga is estimated to be worth R14, 500.dagga-in-phoenix

A 42-year-old man and a 51-year-old woman were recently arrested by Phoenix SAPS officers for dagga dealing. The operations implemented by the police certainly yielded positive results, sending out a strong message to all drug dealers in the vicinity. According to police spokesman, Col Jay Naicker, the officers recently received information regarding a drug trade in the area.

“They proceeded to Snowfern Place, Redfern (Phoenix) where they recovered 118, 71 grams of dagga. A 42-year-old man was arrested for possession of dagga. They then proceeded to a house in the Geneva area, where a 51-year-old woman was found in possession of 5,556kgs of dagga. She was subsequently charged and arrested for dealing in dagga. The total value of the recovered dagga is estimated to be worth R14, 500,” he said.

Both suspects are due to appear in the Phoenix Magistrate’s Court today. KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner, Lt Gen Ngobeni praised Phoenix SAPS for the successful arrests. “Such operations destabilise drugs dealers and also slows down the trade and use of drugs in our community. These operations are a must and drug dealers must realise that we can strike at any time,” she said.

MCC Speaks Medical Dagga Application {PODCAST}

Andre du Plessis speaks to Joey Gouws Director of the MCC on how to apply to be able to use cannabis as an unregistered medication.