Ricky Stone: Mr President, Stop Cannabis Arrests Now! | Cannabiz Africa


Stone: “Stop Cannabis Arrests Now”

Eastern Cape cannabis activist and lawyer Ricky Stone has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to immediately halt cannabis arrests. Stone told parliamentarians on 2 September 2021 that the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill should be dumped as it was unconstitutional and discriminated against indigenous knowledge systems.

“Our recommendation, and it’s the only rational one, is that the bill is scrapped in its entirety. It will do more harm than it prevents. It’s strikingly been mis-tagged as a Section 25 bill and is unconstitutional”.

Speaking as a director of the uMzimvubu Farmers Support Network, Stone, who’s also a lawyer with Cullinan and Associates,  pointed out that there were two legal systems operating in South Africa and that under customary law trading in cannabis was not illegal.

“If ever there was a “Thuma mina” moment for Honourable president Ramaphosa, to invoke his powers in terms of Section 101 of the Constitution, then this is it. We would impress upon the President, Chair, to invoke this executive order to the effect that there’ll be no more arrests for cannabis offences, whatsoever, which is in line with the Prince judgement and the directorate from the Commissioner of Police”.

He said the Executive Order should also specify that the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act does not apply to cannabis used for industrial purposes so that Eastern Cape cannabis farmers could immediately become legal by supplying hemp biomass.

He said: “writing this executive order would immediately let the Amapondo farmers sell their tonnes and tonnes of cannabis and fibre biomass and put food on the table.

“And finally, South Africa must take steps to accede to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appelations and Origins. By doing so we will be afforded the opportunity to seek compensation for the many decades of biopiracy”.

South African landraces had been “culturally misappropriated for decades without proper benefit arrangements put in place and we certainly need them”.

Stone said South Africa had a plural legal system consisting of both common law and customary law. Both legal systems were constitutionally recognized. He said that in terms of Unesco’s declaration of cultural diversity, “traditional knowledge is not so-called because of its antiquity. It is a living body of knowledge that is developed, sustained and passed on from generation to generation within a community, often forming part of its spiritual or cultural identity.

“These customary and indigenous rights are the only form of license the AmaMpondo farmers should require”.  


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