Dagga couple want to join second court battle for legalisation
The “dagga couple”‚ who are embroiled in their own court fight over legalisation of cannabis‚ want to join a second legal battle.
Myrtle Clarke and Julian Stobbs‚ whose case in the high court in Pretoria has been postponed until next year‚ this week filed an application to the Constitutional Court to be admitted as friends of the court in another case.
The state is appealing against a finding in March‚ in the high court in Cape Town‚ that the cultivation and private use of dagga should be legalised‚ and in her affidavit to the ConCourt Clarke said she and Stobbs wanted to intervene in the public interest.
The Cape Town case was brought to court by Rastafarian activist Gareth Prince and the Dagga Party‚ led by Jeremy Acton‚ and in its judgment‚ the court found that the ban on the personal use of dagga by adults in their homes was an infringement of the constitutional right to privacy.
The court gave parliament 24 months to amend the Drugs and Trafficking Act and Medicines and Related Substance Control Act.
Clarke said in her affidavit that if she and Stobbs were admitted as friends of the court they would argue that clauses in the two acts were based on “manifestly impermissible racist and moralistic justifications”.
The case brought by Prince and Acton was “unique in that the matter is one of significant public interest and importance‚ invoking a consideration of a vast number of constitutional rights whilst‚ at the same time‚ all of the protagonists on one side of the argument are not represented by counsel”.
Clarke said it was clear from the papers Prince and Acton had filed that they had been prepared “without the benefit of the input of counsel or attorneys”.
She added: “Therefore‚ whilst the arguments advanced and the submissions made ... may‚ to the eye of a lay person‚ appear to be coherent‚ they nonetheless lack the construction and lucidity of argument which would otherwise be present‚ had they had the benefit of counsel’s assistance”.
It would be a disservice to the administration of justice if their arguments were not “supplemented” by proper legal argument‚ she said.