The Dagga Party of South Africa is on a high after it says it has raised the R200 000 deposit needed to contest the national elections in May.
Earlier this week, the budding political party put out a call to supporters to donate to their election campaign or risk them not qualifying to be on the ballot.
Political parties need to pay a R200 000 deposit to contest national elections, and R45 000 deposit for each province it wants to contest.
If they win at least one seat in the national or provincial legislatures they contest in, the deposit is returned. If they fail, the money is forfeited to the national treasury’s purse.
In calling for donations last Saturday, the party said it wanted MPs elected to Parliament to influence legislation pertaining to dagga economy and the criminal justice system.
“We have to enter Parliament in numbers enough to effectively force and influence the legislation of cannabis for the public benefit, and among other concerns, also ensure that people’s old dagga criminal records are wiped,” the party said in a statement on their website.
In 2014, the party’s electoral hopes went up in smoke when it failed to raised enough money to pay the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) deposit.
By 11pm on Tuesday, the party announced it had obtained enough green to pay for a deposit for the national ballot. But were still continuing their fundraiser drive to contest the Western Cape legislature.
Dagga Party leader Jeremy Acton says they haven’t paid the IEC yet, but is confident they’ll make the Wednesday 5pm deadline.
“I was contacted last night by one of our supporters who took a loan out for the amount we hadn’t been able to raise. So we are going to be doing the admin today, and file payment and candidates to contest in the National Election,” he said.
Acton says following last year’s Constitutional Court judgment giving dagga users the green light to smoke in the privacy of their homes, it’s time for activists to help craft the legislation for complete legalisation.
“We don’t trust the system as it stands. And we don’t want those prohibitionist parties that are already in parliament to do our legislation for us. We want members of the Cannabis Community to be in the parliamentary committees that make the law,“ Acton explained.
On how they will actually fare, Acton says they hope to set the political scene ablaze with at least a handful of MPs in the National Assembly.
“We are making a little of history here. And for the first time cannabis users will get the chance to determine their own future,” Acton said.
Political parties have until the end of business on Wednesday to finalise their deposits and paperwork to qualify for the May poll.