I chopped it up with Jules, and our conversation highlights personal trials and tribulations, as well as the broader issues posed by the de-criminalisation debate…..Peep it:
Vhedza: I thought we’d start with your Slogan ‘Re-Legalise’ very illuminating….Wud U start with just giving a brief Historical explanation as to why its ‘Re-Legalise’ and not simply ‘Legalise’?
Jules: Re-legalisation…..The plant has been used by humans for 10,000’s of years. It’s only been banned for 100. Re-legalise the plant and put it back on the medicine shelf it has always been.
Vhedza: Most people are not aware of that so I think your Slogan is important in putting that point across.
Please give our readers a brief summary of your personal history and how you ended up at the forefront as the ‘Dagga Couple”?
Jules: We were arrested in our home in 2010 and charged with dealing because we had more than 115g (that’s the law).
We were looking 7 years so decided to fight the system. we aren’t criminals and we weren’t hurting anyone.
Our CV is 18 minutes long:
Vhedza: Great… That’s what I also have a problem with essentially clogging the Court Rolls and Justice system with Law abiding Citizens.
Jules: Fully. It’s all about quota’s as you know. The cops need a certain amount of arrests so they go after the users, not the suppliers.
Vhedza: Terence McKenna and other Thinkers have referred to the Anti-establishment effect Marijuana has…Do U think that has something to do with it?
Jules: We estimate there are still around 1000 arrest a day in SA for weed. There are 304 Magistrates courts in SA and they all have at least 2-3 dagga cases a day.
Jules: Anti establishment?
For sure. weed wasn’t banned – The counter cultures use of it was. the modern day Nixon war on drugs was aimed a minority groups and the ‘hippies’…People who altered their consciousness and thought out of the box. That’s dangerous to a government.
Vhedza: That’s shocking….With the shift in Global Consciousness towards decriminalization do you think we’re lagging behind in Africa on this issue.
Jules: Africa is becoming more and more religious and more and homophobic. It’s almost like society is going backwards in some countries.
Africa is lagging behind and still very conservative.
Vhedza: Its sad that most are not aware of the role played by FBI programmes such as COINTELPRO in suppressing Civil Liberties.
SA supposedly has one of the most Libertarian Constitution in Africa and the world….Why do U think Conservatism on this and other issues remains and what can be done to move the Culture forward?
Jules: We are fighting our fight through the judiciary. we’ve never talked to a politician. the Constitutional Court will tell the government to change the drug laws. the politicians believe getting soft on drugs will kill their votes but the 2020 US elections will be all about drug policy.
Politicians are mostly in bed with religious leaders because they donate a lot of money to people in power. That’s why society seems to be getting more not less conservative.
Jules: The internet is the tool that will guarantee our success. the truth is out.
Vhedza: Well said…What are your views on the potential of the ‘Weed Economy’?
Jules: Huge. Billion. It’s already there. we just have to legitimise it. Networks have been in place for hundreds of years in southern africa. let the existing people grow, transport and sell their weed. the internationals are already circling the country looking to see what’s in it for them.
They need our sunshine. growing weed under lights in Canada and Europe is an expensive business.
Big Pharma will get involved. it’s inevitable. it’s already happening. We believe there is enough to go round and there should be a cannabis craft industry to compliment ‘big medicine’ at dischem and NOBODY goes to jail.
Vhedza: I think the State needs as much revenue as it can get especially to alleviate Poverty and it doesn’t seem logical to overlook this revenue source.
Jules: If they tax it too much, they’ll be sorry though. We’ll all just go to our regular source instead.
Jules: It’s still happening in Colorado. The black market is still alive and well.
Vhedza: In total agreement that its an avenue the Gvt needs to explore in light of the Socio-Economic challenges.
Jules: It’ll be a goldmine for them if they play it right. We are watching Canada’s efforts to legalise closely:
Vhedza: At the end of the day both you and your Wife are facing a real situation which is emotionally draining and costly…Pliz share your thoughts on the experience as well as links to any Crowd funding campaigns for your Legal Fees
Jules: We crowdfunded this challenge in 2015 with an Indiegogo blitz. Generated R350,000. we do regular fundraising events, screenings, parties and the like. We’re just getting our mojo back to crowdfund the TrialOfThePlant2 sometime next year. It’s always a daunting and unpleasant task to ask for money.
There are plenty of ways to donate:
Right now we are drained and plan to take off into the kalahari desert for 2 weeks away from a signal….We’ve got a massive footprint on social media now which is a constant effort to manage…..It’ll be good to get away for a while
Vhedza: I can only imagine how difficult it can be..Any last words you would like to share for our readers….Thank you once again for the opportunity.
Jules: Let’s see who can help for the next round. Our re-legalisation petition is also important. It’s what we take to government after we’ve been through the courts:
Vhedza: We’ll do our bit to spread the word……..End