If you’re on twitter, click the below button to tweet this letter to Mmusi:
A couple of years ago I penned an open letter to your mentor, Helen Zille. Despite having used all the conventional social media platforms and even the unconventional post office to be heard, I received not so much as an acknowledgement from anyone in the Democratic Alliance. Perhaps I hit a little too close to home or pleaded my case so well that the DA simply had no way of responding without coming across a bit Verwoed’ish. As much as I would like to believe that I’d stumped Helen with my wit and epic facts, the reality is that both Zille and the DA probably couldn’t care less about South Africa’s cannabis culture. So I’m hoping that maybe you’d like to take this opportunity to clear the air a bit.
Sure, you may conveniently stereotype cannabis users as lazy, lay about stoners. You may even go so far as to consider them less than human and deserving of being caged up alongside the rapists and murderers that our beloved country is so well known for. If that is the case, you need not read on. If you are however open to a genuine discussion regarding this relevant topic, rather than harp on about the facts and figures, as I did last time, I would like to change tack and speak frankly with you. I ask only that we please not wallow in the shallow end nor dabble with perspectives founded on the idealism of a “Drug free world” or the altruism of “Cannabis cures cancer”, as these are extreme polar ends of the debate in which no middle ground can be found. Let’s instead use this time to push aside the stigma and take an honest look at the millions of daily cannabis users whom we rub shoulders with every day. Those people who live next door to us, or in our very homes. Those people who are not forced into a life of drug abuse because of their socio-economic circumstances. Those people who are currently vilified for doing nothing more than coming home after a long day at work, kicking their shoes off and smoking a joint or two or three.
Given the saturation of cannabis within our society I would hazard a guess that you know more than just a few of these people. Some who are merely acquaintances and others who are close friends or beloved family members. Deep down, do you believe that they are criminals worthy of imprisonment? Do you truly believe that plucking constructive citizens from our already burgeoning economy, to then financially isolate them with a criminal record that makes them unemployable, is in any way a constructive solution to the the local cannabis conundrum? I hope not.
While Cannabis is unlikely to be a golden egg laying goose that will turn South Africa around, it may very well be an economic aid now when we need it most. At the very least we can begin by calling off the police hounds and create on environment where we have cops on the streets arresting real criminals instead of queuing up for photo opportunities with freshly confiscated ganja. The answers, I accept, will not be simple or cut and paste solutions from other nations. They will be complex, pragmatic and uniquely orientated to our local needs. These are however answers that we can not even begin to obtain until we are able to move beyond the boundaries of mere bickering. There is a deep seeded need to get our hands dirty and tackle the way the forward. So I’ll borrow the sentiment from one of your most recent quotes and apply it from a perspective that remains marginalised.
We cannot build a prosperous future for South Africa when millions of responsible cannabis using South Africans are stigmatised and have no hope, no sense of belonging.
So where do we go from here? Does the DA turn a blind eye and slam the door in our faces, again? Or is there somewhere within the blue folds of the DA that South Africa’s cannabis community can find traction and become a part of the positive change you wish to bring to all?
Please help Mmusi Maimane hear our pleads for change by sharing this open letter or tweeting it to him here: