Edit: Check out the video Stix made of going to court for dagga – #ViaWMJ – Hof toe vir dagga.
If you’ve ever been to any South African music festival, there is a good chance you were standing in the crowd while watching a band when you smelt it. You’ve seen a joint being passed around the fire at Oppikoppi. Or hell, a dodgy Nigerian might have even offered you some dagga after you turned down the blow and the E.
Yes, dagga is very much a part of South African music festivals. You might even say that South African music festivals have a cannabis culture that is unique to only music fests in SA. Of course, international music festivals also have a cannabis culture of their own. But let’s talk about our situation in South Africa.
Music festivals: A safe place to light up
Dagga in all it’s forms is still very much illegal in South Africa. As absurd as it might be, you can still go to jail for possession, trafficking, distributing, cultivating or using cannabis. Because of this, South African’s have to hide around corners when they light up. Music festivals gives users of the dagga plant an opportunity to partake in the plant, without having to hide it.
You will still have to hide it. Music festivals like Oppikoppi have become well known for the police roadblocks less than a kilometer from the festival gates. Even when inside the perimeter of the Oppikoppi farm you will still see police. Police always for an easy bust and it likely won’t get any easier than busting people at a music festival.
Even with the threat of police, there is a thriving cannabis culture at South African music festivals. Whether it is to enhance the experience, to relax, to escape, to get away, to have fun with friends or a multitude of other reasons cannabis is no more harmful than alcohol that is also at every music festival.
This week the Trial of the Plant has started in the Pretoria High Court, setting South Africa up with a perfect opportunity to change the way we treat dagga and everything that comes with it.
Let’s hope that soon you will be able to easily buy your dagga, cannabis oil, daggakoekies, pre-rolled joints and even a dab from a stall/lounge area at your favourite music festival, just like we buy alcohol. Music festivals are known to be tolerant spaces that don’t pass judgement, and that is why cannabis culture has been walking hand in hand with South African music festivals.
Time for the relationship between cannabis culture and music festivals to come out of the shadows to help show that dagga can be a used safely and responsibly by adults.
Watch this space for regular updates in the Opinion and Music categories on Running Wolf’s Rant.