Dagga Party Came From ‘Listening To The Herb’
|Photo: IOL News|
|South African police raid Dagga Party headquarters on Friday, shortly after the organization announced it would be participating in upcoming elections|
Police on Friday raided the home of the leader of the Dagga Party of South Africa shortly after the party announced it was participating in local elections. All the cops found were a few seeds.
Jeremy Acton, whose party is registered in the Langeberg Municipality to contest the May 18 local government elections, said he was not at his Montagu farmhouse when police arrived Friday morning, but they questioned one of his workers and took him to the police station, reports IOL News.
“The took all the pipes and took photographs of my marijuana graphics and a poem I have for meditation,” Acton said.
Acton said he wasn’t sure if a warrant had been issued for his arrest, but he wasn’t planning on returning to Montagu until tomorrow. He said he had already taken his Dagga Party pamphlets to the police in Montagu and explained he was fighting to get cannabis legalized. He said he’d heard the police wanted to stop his efforts.
The Dagga Party wants to legalize the herb and keep South Africa’s “dagga culture” alive, and is participating in the May local elections, a historical first which has generated great media interest and lots of public support.
The idea of forming the Dagga Party came from “listening to the herb,” according to leader Acton.
“By registering our party we made history for the legalization of cannabis in South Africa and by participating in this election we make history every step of the way,” Acton said. “If we win even one council seat in the Municipality, we achieve a beachhead for further efforts to legalize dagga,” Acton said, using the South African slang word for cannabis.
|Graphic: Dagga Party|
Acton wants every South African to grow dagga and reap the benefits, reports Helen Bamford at the Weekend Argus [PDF]. “I’m pushing it as an environmental solution to climate change and an opportunity for people to make loads of money,” Acton said this week from a small house in Dorpsig, Robertson, South Africa, where the party was born two years ago.
Acton, 47, said the party was registered in the Langeberg municipality in the Western Cape, a rural agricultural area, and would contest the local government elections in five villages, Robertson, Montagu, Bonnievale, Ashton and McGregor. “We have eight candidates, including myself, contesting 11 of 12 wards,” Acton wrote on the Dagga Party’s website.
The Dagga Party has between 2,000 and 3,000 members, according to Acton, although a number of supporters signed up on their website with “code” names.
“The site has probably been infiltrated by narcotics officers,” Acton said with a laugh.
Acton, who lives alone on a farm in Montagu, said he has been smoking dagga for more than 20 years.
“I puffed my first zol in 1987 while I was in the military in Kroonstad,” Acton said. “It was going around the bungalow. Up to then I’d been into alcohol.”
According to Acton, cannabis — unlike alcohol — made him introspective and thoughtful.
|Graphic: Dagga Party|
|Jeremy Acton, Dagga Party: “I ask all the citizens of the global cannabis culture to light up a big fire here and set Africa alight!”|
”Cannabis is a pathway,” Acton said. “You don’t see the world the same anymore.”
Dagga is an emotional word for South Africans, and often raises hackles, according to Acton.
“People’s reactions to the name of the party range from hysterical laughter to excellent expressions of support,” he said.
According to Acton, local cannabis outperforms imported varieties and would provide huge benefits if legalized. Many global connoisseurs agree with his assessment, lauding the pure and potent landrace sativa strains of dagga found in South Africa.
Besides medicinal benefits, Acton said dagga would promote tourism, because people would come to South Africa to smoke.
He said the seeds are highly nutritious, and dagga also has great potential for industrial applications.
Acton and Dagga Party executive Israel Jeneke both have cases pending after being busted for dagga possession by local police.
“I was told to pay ZAR50 admission of guilt for 20 seeds, but I refused to pay,” Acton said. “I have appealed to the Constitutional Court.”
The Dagga Party has support in Pretoria, Joburg, Knysna and Cape Town.
|Graphic: Dagga Party|
”But we are also part of a global culture,” Acton said. “Facebook has helped us link up with activists all over the world.”
Acton hopes that dagga smokers in the country’s major political parties, the ANC and the DA, will give their support to the Dagga Party.
“If you can drink a beer or smoke a cigarette, then there is no reason why you can’t smoke as much weed as you like,” Acton said.
“I ask that overseas members of the global cannabis culture would contribute to this initiative as your dollar/pound/euro has a strong multiplication effect against the South African Rand (ZAR), e.g., only $20 becomes ZAR140,” Acton said. “I hope that our culture can use ‘globalization’ and the ‘movement of capital’ to achieve its own goals.”
“Participation in this initiative and the successful election of a Dagga Party candidate to the local council would create a positive ‘tipping point’ at the southern tip of Africa for global re-legalization of cannabis,” Acton said.
“I ask all the citizens of the global cannabis culture to light up a big fire here and set Africa alight!”
For banking details and how you can contribute to the Dagga Party, visit their website here.