17 Jul “Weed Is Like An Escape From All Cr*ps Of Life”
On February 14 2014, late political veteran and member of the Inkatha Freedom Party, Mario Oriani-Ambrosini, submitted a bill to legalise Cannabis for medical, economical and industrial purposes.
The bill was said to be an attempt to make provision for innovations in medical treatment by legalising the usage of Cannabis, dagga or kush, in street language. The background and genesis of the innovation bill refers to when Ambrosini was diagnosed with stage four inoperable lung cancer. The doctors gave him two weeks to live after being diagnosed, but Ambrosini believed that the illegal substance was vital to his health and it helped him to remain alive for over a year. He passed away on August 16 2014.
Ambrosini died fighting for the legalisation of marijuana, for medical purposes, but! Does the youth really use marijuana for medical purpose?
Take Julia Mabuza*, a young lady that has been smoking marijuana since 2010. Julia was introduced to marijuana by a friend, “We were chilling one day, my curiosity level spiked, I wanted to know how it felt, and so I experimented. From there I’ve never looked back.”
Perhaps the biggest question is this: why do people actually smoke marijuana? Julia provided her reason for engaging in this activity; she said, “Weed is like an escape from all craps of life, put it together with wine, it feels like heaven for days. Not just that though, I also smoke it for fun, as a means of loosening up. Life isn’t a smooth ride; it’s sort of a roller coaster ride.”
Julia outlined that she smokes to try and escape from all the craps of life. “Life has different directions and different paths for all of us. The situations that you go through on a day-to-day basis are entirely different from what your neighbour encounters.”
She explains what she meant by craps of life. “I lost my beloved mother when I was just 11 years old, still in primary school and young. I didn’t know who my dad was up until I was 15 years old. The pressure at school gets to me, [so] a little escape from reality and [having] some adventure helps me.”
Dubbed as Nature’s way of saying ‘hi’ by users, there are definitely negative health implications that come with smoking marijuana, such as the damage of brain cells, decrease in body mass and impairment of lungs, just to mention a few. However, Julia says she is not so much concerned about health implications, “I believe in the saying that goes as follows: everything happens for a reason. If my brain cells are getting damaged, it will be because they were bound to get damaged – not because of marijuana. I live in the moment, if I do become affected by marijuana, I will cross that bridge when I get there,” she said.
Marijuana is addictive, like other substances such as the likes of glue, nyaope, cocaine and so forth. Nevertheless, Julia is not worried about converting herself into a marijuana addict, instead, she is worried about something that she views to be more important – “I’m afraid of HIV/Aids, not being a marijuana addict! I wouldn’t say I can’t live without it (laughs) I can easily control it. I know that’s what most addicts say, but hey, I don’t foresee ceasing to smoke.”
Julia spends about R70 every month to sponsor her habit. She doesn’t struggle to get hold of the substance – her dealer is always nearby for her convenience.
It is widely known that marijuana is illegal in South Africa, but Julia seems pretty confident that she has everything under control, “It is not like I walk around the streets with a blunt high … No! I doubt that I will find myself on the wrong side of the law, I do it responsibly.”
Since Ambrosini was advocating for the legalisation of marijuana, if the bill is passed into law, will this prove to be a green light for people to get high? If one can be medically assisted by marijuana, a street-wise person can also claim to be aiding him/herself, while using that as an excuse to get high, surely?
President Jacob Zuma has passed on the responsibility to health minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi to look into Ambrosini’s proposal, which has sat with the honourable minister ever since, probably laying somewhere in the archives. The nation eagerly waits for the verdict coming from Parliament.
*Source has used a pseudonym.