Don’t criminalise dagga-using children, Dagga Party asks

File photo.

‘Rehab, counselling, diversion programmes are stigmatised and tell a lie about cannabis. There is no scientific proof that cannabis can do any harm.’

The Dagga Party yesterday supported the call for the underage possession and consumption of cannabis to be dealt with through a social and cultural model, instead of criminalising it.

The Centre for Child Law approached the High Court in Johannesburg with a request to decriminalise the use of cannabis by minors.

The centre’s attorney, Lithalethemba Stwayi, said: “The aim of this approach is to avoid children being exposed to the brutalising effect of the criminal justice system that does not have the necessary mechanisms to properly deal with cannabis dependency.”

She suggested that instead of criminalising, incarcerating and punishing children, they should be dealt with through other channels, including their parents, the community, the department of social development and other certified welfare services.

“We think it’s an excellent idea,” said Dagga Party leader Jeremy Acton, who added his party was in full support of the centre’s approach to the matter.

“Rehab, counselling, diversion programmes are stigmatised and tell a lie about cannabis. There is no scientific proof that cannabis can do any harm,” Acton said.

“Criminalisation has to stop. Cannabis is the least harmful substance out there and instead of the justice system, the child should be dealt with at home, where parents could educate their kids on the responsible use of cannabis.”

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