Julian Stobbs & Myrtle Clarke
Ordinary Criminals – What is it about the Cannabis plant that made two ordinary citizens fight their government in a court of law for the right to use it?
In 2010, Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke were subjected to a South African police service (SAPS) raid at their home in Johannesburg. They were charged with possession with intent to deal in Cannabis.
Who were we harming by using Cannabis (or Dagga as it’s known in SA) in the privacy of our own home? Where was the victim of this crime? After much deliberation we decided to ask these very questions in a court of law and presented an affidavit to the High Court. We sued 7 government departments for enacting an unlawful law.
8 years ago we knew little of drug policy or the law but nevertheless, our combined 50 years of cannabis use and the myriad effects the plant has had on our lives to date, spurred us along on a journey that has changed our lives forever.
From being artists and creatives in the SA television and film industry to Directors of South Africa’s only Cannabis legalisation Non Profit Company has been a lot to adjust to. So has being thrust into the limelight of South Africa’s media – the same media that dubbed us the ‘Dagga Couple’.
For the first time (that we know of), the concept of cognitive liberty has been introduced into SA law. Amongst the drug policy experts, academics, scientists and activists in our world now, we have had to become experts about the state of our own minds, the state of mind that cannabis puts us in. That particular effect that the plant has on each of us under specific conditions at specific times. It is this aspect of our work that is most interesting to us as individuals. This is what motivates us to complete our mission for the right to get high.