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'Don't Use Auntie's Money For Dagga,' Warns Magistrate

The magistrate urged dagga users to be patient, saying the herb is still illegal unless the Western Cape High Court rules otherwise.

20/12/2016 14:10 SAST | Updated 20/12/2016 14:12 SAST
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Rolling a Marijuana cigarette

A Cape Town magistrate told several accused in court for dagga-related crimes on Monday to try and wait before their next puff, saying the herb is still illegal unless the Western Cape High Court rules otherwise.

He also advised some of them on how better to spend their money.

''Just be patient,'' Magistrate Vincent Ketye said sternly as yet another accused stood in the dock at the Blue Downs Magistrate's Court after spending the weekend in prison for being in possession of a ''stop'' of dagga.

''Judge Saldanha is still busy deciding whether you will be able to smoke it,'' he said.

Last week the Western Cape High Court heard an application by Rastafarian Garreth Prince and Dagga Party leader Jeremy Acton and 18 others who want dagga decriminalised.

The public gallery was packed with supporters who believe that dagga causes less harm than alcohol and tobacco, and persisting with the ban is against a number of constitutional rights.

They believe that adults should be allowed to choose to use it and that it holds great untapped potential for economic wealth, besides the claimed health benefits.

One of their complaints was that the dagga laws were a racist colonial era relic that adversely affected black men.

In the Blue Downs court on Monday, after asking an old man standing in line how long he had been using dagga for, Ketye commented: ''You have been smoking dagga for longer than I have been alive."

He gave him a stern talking to, and said dagga possession was still illegal in South Africa.

''Don't buy dagga. Use the money to assist your family,'' advised the magistrate.

''No, I won't smoke it anymore,'' promised the old man as he left with a caution.

Buy from the Rastas

The next accused gained the magistrate's favour by readily admitting that he threw his dagga into the street when he saw the police bearing down on him.

Ketye commented that it was a common misconception that throwing the evidence into the street would help.

Pressed by Ketye on where he gets dagga money from if he is unemployed, the man explained that he gets paid between R5 and R10 to go and buy a R2 stop of dagga for people who do not want to take a walk themselves.

''And who do you buy from?'' he asked.

''From the Rastas,'' replied the man.

''Always the Rastas. Nobody gives me names. They just say 'the Rastas','' lamented Ketye.

Warning him that he could have been charged for dealing, an even more serious offence, he sent the underweight man home on a caution, but only after a small deviation to establish that the man used ''Mpondo'' dagga - grown in the magistrate's home province of the Eastern Cape.

For the next accused he had stern words about borrowing dagga money from an aunt.

''Did she tell you to buy dagga with that money?'' asked Ketye.

''No sir,'' said the man.

''Don't use auntie's money for dagga again," said Ketye.

Last week judgment was reserved by the three judges who heard the decriminalisation of dagga case last week.

Judges Vincent Saldanha, Dennis Davis and Nolwazi Boqaba needed time to think about how they should rule after two days of hearing argument.

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