Dagga Sales Can Help Boost SA Economy, Health


Not long after a Western Cape Province High Court ruled that dagga can be used in homes, comes more agitations for other bans hindering the buying and selling of the weed to be lifted.

The Western Cape High Court declared that it is an infringement to ban the use of dagga by adults in private homes. In making the ruling earlier this year, it has allowed for the possession, cultivation and use dagga at home, for private use.

But, a party led by a former Democratic Alliance councillor in Sekhukhune, Limpopo, said the state can also allow dagga to be widely sold so the tax possibly flowing from it could be used to boost other aspects of the economy and even used to fund the National Health Insurance.

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According to the Sekhukhune Congress, allowing the natural cultivation of the African herb will not only help reduce the rate of premature arrests by the state police, it will also help finance the health insurance scheme.

“This naturally grown African herb with minimum negative effects has been criminalised in our country for ultra conservative reasons benefiting the colourless monopoly capital.

“Should the government heed this noble call South Africa will witness not only a massive drop in premature arrest and prison costs but will also allow police resources to be redirected where they are needed most, combatting crime and protecting women, children,”  said former DA councillor in Fetakgomo Municipality and provincial leader candidate, Derick Mosoana.

Mosoana, who is also a pastor at the local church, said the “God-given herb” had the potential to grow the economy and create stable jobs.

“The party will, as part of this campaign, rubbish myths and propaganda spread by anti-marijuana lobbyists who have direct profit benefits in alcohol/tobacco businesses – which cause more deaths than any civil war ever witnessed. We will also advise the minister of health on the possible use of tax received from this initiative to fund the National Health Insurance [NHI] scheme,” he added.

The NHI white paper was released recently and industry experts have been scratching their heads about how it can be sufficiently funded. According to them, the paper lacked details on where the money will come from.

Neil Kirby, a director and head of healthcare and life sciences practice at Werksmans Attorneys, said last week that the actual financing of the NHI was not clearly set out in the white paper but the department of health had made provisions via an advisory committee to fill in the gaps.

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South Africa first criminalised the substance in 1908 and since then, the police has made an arrest of a great number of dagga users. But as it stands, the new ruling which allows the use of dagga in private homes is only helpful if you’re an above-average horticulturalist with no plan to make a dime off the substance.

Thus, buying and selling marijuana is still illegal, as is smoking it in public. However, in February this year, South Africa’s government approved a bill that would allow for the limited manufacturing of medical marijuana.