South Africa 6.5.2017 05:59 am

Huffing and puffing for dagga

South African advocate Mbonisi Nkita (C) reacts with members of the Rastafarian community after the ruling legalizing Cannabis outside the Cape High Court in Cape Town, South Africa, 31 March 2017.  The Western Cape High Court 31 March 2017 ruled it will allow people to possess, cultivate and use Cannabis at home. The law that made it illegal has been removed. Parliament has 24 months to write it into statute.  EPA/NIC BOTHMA

South African advocate Mbonisi Nkita (C) reacts with members of the Rastafarian community after the ruling legalizing Cannabis outside the Cape High Court in Cape Town, South Africa, 31 March 2017. The Western Cape High Court 31 March 2017 ruled it will allow people to possess, cultivate and use Cannabis at home. The law that made it illegal has been removed. Parliament has 24 months to write it into statute. EPA/NIC BOTHMA

The Cannabis Walk happens in over 300 cities across the world on the first Saturday of May every year and is a bid to have cannabis legalised for medicinal purposes and for limited private recreation.

The weather forecast for today in Cape Town is cloudy with a chance of the munchies – as thousands of dagga smokers are expected to take part in Cannabis Walk.

The walk happens in over 300 cities across the world on the first Saturday of May every year and is a bid to have cannabis legalised for medicinal purposes and for limited private recreation.

The Cape Town event is in its 17th year. “It’s a joyous, wonderful way to share the joys of natural weed. Wish I could be there, but will just have the usual dooby in solidarity,” said dagga fan Lance van Eeden.

“I’m a supporter of legalised weed. It’s a natural joy I have enjoyed since I was 16,” 40-year-old Van Eeden said.

Johannes Berkhout “Smokie Jo”, managing director of Bongalong, who is organising the walk, said he expected even more hype for today’s walk following the recent high court ruling allowing people to grow and smoke weed in their own homes.

“It’s a great thing; it’s definitely given more impetus to the march, but the main thing it’s made people more comfortable about cannabis. It’s great with the change that it’s brought on a societal level.

“Second, the door is opening for government no longer being able to sweep this [issue] under the rug.”

If the court challenged the constitutional legitimacy of cannabis legislation “then how bad can dagga be?”

The court has asked parliament to amend legislation within two years. Smokie Jo also argued it would put money in government coffers through taxation.

This would also mean there would be regulation so people didn’t “buy Stroh rum instead of red wine”.

He said the march would once more be peaceful, with 550 marshals including the officials.

He warned, however, that puffers should be wary of walking and smoking and not create any hassles for the police, who have to control the crowd.

Chief executive of the Anti-Drug Alliance group Quintin Van Kerken said: “We don’t see cannabis as a drug, we see it as a medicine. Anything is open to misuse whether it’s the internet, sex or rock ’n roll,” he said.

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