Anyone would agree that to have your house raided and searched by the police and to be arrested and taken to jail is potentially traumatic. But that’s what happens when you break the law which our country’s police officers have a duty to enforce!

Minority groups are fighting for their right to use dagga, equating it with their right to the freedom of speech and thought. We are supposed to believe that the freedom to use drugs is equal in importance to the fundamental human rights which form the foundation on which our nation’s constitution is built.

The fact is that dagga remains illegal to possess, cultivate or sell. When arrested and detained for these very criminal acts, those arrested later speak of their experiences as if they were innocent victims of the brutality of a police state, martyrs even, when in fact they are guilty of wilfully violating the law of South Africa and have brought the resulting consequences upon themselves.

Surely an individual who wished to avoid having a run in with our county’s law enforcement officials, and suffering through such a ‘traumatic’ series of events, would ensure that they remained very clearly on the right side of the law and stayed as far away from illicit drugs (including dagga) as possible!

Can a person stick their hand into a fire and then complain to all who will listen that they were burned? The very same principle applies here! If you break the law, you will be arrested and prosecuted and rightfully so. An individual cannot violate a law simply because they, in their own personal capacity, disagree with the law in question and then wish to escape punishment.

People who break the laws that surround dagga and are subsequently apprehended for doing so are certainly not being victimised. What’s more, the operating procedures of the SAPS have no bearing whatsoever on whether or not dagga is a dangerous narcotic, which it most certainly is.

Individuals who appear on television to share with the public how they feel they were mistreated by law enforcement officers when arrested on dagga related charges, are endeavouring to draw attention away from the undeniable fact that the very same drug they have been using and now seek to have legalized, is not a harmless or ‘soft’ drug as they claim but is in fact extremely dangerous.

Laws against dagga are in place to prevent the damage an individual may do to himself and because of the risk that in damaging himself he may injure others. At times the law must intervene to protect the individual from himself. This is one of the many roles that the law plays in any society.

Our society has the right to ward off crimes against itself and we do so through laws that are put in place against threats like dagga. In such cases the ‘rights’ of a minority group can be infringed upon to a reasonable extent with the safety of the rest of South Africa’s population in mind.

The final resort in the battle for legalization is for those who would see dagga legalized to retreat behind their last line of defence, which is the allegation that laws against dagga are an infringement of a user’s human rights and that their freedom is threatened by the legal restrictions against dagga.

Strict laws which are diligently enforced by the police and courts are a deterrent stronger than any parental warning against dagga. Such warnings are not powerful enough to overcome the brute force and influence of peer pressure on young people to experiment with dagga. In a survey conducted by CYPSA, 96% of those surveyed indicated that peer pressure was their motivation for smoking dagga for the very first time. All continued to smoke dagga for many years and almost all of those interviewed became addicted to harder drugs in the years that followed.

Red robots are in place to avoid accidents. When driving a person might feel that he or she should not have to stop at a red robot when they see one. However, to fail to do so would be to risk not only their own lives but the lives of innocents should their actions result in an accident.

Dagga is illegal because it is dangerous. The laws that prohibit dagga are there to protect our society. Some may feel that they should not have to adhere to these rules when they encounter them. However there are people whose job it is to deal with those who ‘jump’ these ‘red robots’ and who will continue to do so. To allow those who smoke dagga, or any other drug for that matter, to act as they please will cause an ‘accident’ that will harm the whole of South African society.