Cannabis celebration met with anger

Organisers Kenrick Murison and Bongani Ndlovu PHOTO: PIERCE VAN HEERDEN

With international Cannabis Day, or what is known to many as 4:20, approaching, mixed emotions for an upcoming cannabis celebration event in Bloemfontein is leaving many with different opinions. 4:20 is slang in cannabis culture for the consumption of cannabis, especially smoking cannabis around the time 4:20 pm.

Cannabis Rx is planning on hosting the event in Heidedal’s Billy Murison Stadium on 20 April 2019. Some welcome the event as it is seen as an educational project, while others have met the news of the event anger, complaining that it will give children of different ages access to Cannabis.

Concerned community member Collin Scott shared his concern on Facebook and wrote: “On April 20, 2019, a dagga festival is being held at Billy Murison Stadium. So have our moral values fallen so much that we have to do it now? The event is a passport for the children to also start smoking dagga. Where are the pastors, ministers, priests and churches?”

Another community member, Tessa Muller, also shared her thoughts about the event on social media: “Honestly, whether grown-ups smoke dagga or not is none of my business since I have my own recreational habits. But as much as I have my own habits, I would totally reject it if cannabis that is publicly introduced to children as young as primary schools learners.

If cannabis is publicly introduced or children are openly exposed to it, I will object since that child is not mature enough to even understand the consequences or the impact of the use of cannabis and their behaviour at their age.”

However in an interview with Bloemfontein Courant, event organisers Bongani Ndlovu and Kenrick Murison, shared their views about the need to have an event to spread awareness about cannabis, the recreational uses of marijuana as well as the industrial and medicinal uses to the community. “We have to realise when and how the plant was made legal in the first place. For us to ignore those facts now and not find ways to decolonise ourselves and find ways to conscientise the masses on what this plant is, the possible financial gains for the community at large will be lost,” Ndlovu said.

He told Bloemfontein Courant that it is very important that people realise the safe practices on the recreational side of things. “A lot of people are introduced to the plant, so it is time they are informed about what it is. We need to make the community aware that this is not a drug that should be mixed with other drugs or chemicals. It is time that the stigma around this plant is shaken off.” – Pierce van Heerden