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Cannabis rules that will blow your mind

03 January 2018 - 19:05 By Katharine Child
Dagga legalisation law marijuana gavel
Dagga legalisation law marijuana gavel
Image: Gallo Images/ IStock

The South African so-called dagga-couple is closely watching the state of California where marijuana is now legal - unless it is sold in an edible form shaped as human or fruit.

Johannesburg residents Jules Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke are fighting in the Pretoria High Court to have the South African laws prohibiting dagga ruled unconstitutional‚ based on the fact‚ they argue‚ that local laws are not rational and fail to achieve their purpose of reducing the harms of dagga use. Stobbs said he was learning from the legalisation of recreational use in California.

He and Clarke "try to learn from other countries’ legislation to propose answers for South Africa".

Amused he noted: "Basically one in five Americans [who live in the state of California] can now purchase a legal drug that is still banned by the federal government".

But Stobbs was heavily critical of the highly-regulated environment in California‚ where dope is now legal‚ but laws include restrictions of the sale of marijuana at a strip joint and banning it in edible food infused with coffee.

However‚ Stobbs said it was better that weed was legal. "There is no perfect piece of legislation."

TimesLIVE noted that the main legislation on the recreational use of marijuana‚ titled Bureau of Cannabis Control Notice of Approval of Emergency Regulatory Action & Final Text of Regulations‚ runs to 219 pages.

The regulations detail the sale‚ growing‚ testing‚ delivery and sale of marijuana down to how it can be sold at events or American fairs.

The regulations ban the use of a drone for delivery saying marijuana cannot be transported in an "unmanned vehicle".

It has to be delivered person to person "in an enclosed motor vehicle"‚ prohibiting bicycle delivery‚ notes website Alternet. The laws ban edible food with dagga containing nicotine‚ alcohol or caffeine‚ so a coffee flavoured dagga-cookie would be banned.

Regulations state: "Edible products cannot be shaped like a human‚ animal‚ insect‚ or fruit."

Also Californians won't be eating beef with weed. "Some potentially-hazardous foods‚ such as meat and seafood‚ and other products requiring refrigeration‚ are prohibited for sale as cannabis products."

Stobbs wondered who in California "thought of" the idea that marijuana cannot be sold at strip club.

The law prevents it being sold at a venue "where any person on the licensed premises [is permitted] to touch‚ caress‚ or fondle the breasts‚ buttocks‚ anus‚ or genitals of any other person and where the place permits any employee or person to wear or use any device or covering‚ exposed to view‚ which simulates the breast‚ genitals‚ anus‚ pubic hair‚ or any portion thereof".

A shop licensed to sell marijuana cannot be within 600 feet (183m) of a school‚ in a bid to protect children from exposure.

Stobbs said the hundreds of pages of legislation are so detailed like they were trying to "treat marijuana as if it was plutonium".

"It is like California has been trying to legalise one of the world's most hectic substances."

He said the heavy California taxes and cost of licences to sell marijuana will double the price of weed in that US state.

"People will start guerrilla growing as they always have."

He said this was a lesson to South Africa that if dagga is ever legalised and then overtaxed‚ people won't use the legal market.

"If government is greedy‚ we will just grow it anyway. That’s what will happen in California."

US media have reported that many Californian cities have not permitted dispensary licences for shops‚ limiting where residents can buy it

In cities such as San Francisco‚ few licences have been issued‚ so few dispensaries are ready.

But ultimately it means one cannot be arrested for a joint.

Stobbs states: "In California‚ one drive 1‚000 kilometres from the very top to the bottom of the state carrying weed."

The New York Times however reported that medical marjiuana has been legal in the state of California for 20 years and there are few police arrests of people carrying small amounts of weed‚ so for many Californian residents not much has changed.