Ras Garreth Prince B Iuris, LLB, Dipl. Legal Practice, is a trained lawyer and was the first to challenge the cannabis laws in South Africa, at tremendous cost to his career and family. As a Rastafari he chose to obey his conscience and refused to apologize for a cannabis conviction. Ras Prince argued that the laws against the herb was morally indefensible and unjust. For this stance he was declared not fit and proper to practice law in 1997. This led to the first challenge against the cannabis laws, which was rejected, in 2002,by the closest margin in the Constitutional court’s history, 6-5.
In 2012, Ras Prince was arrested again, at his house, for cultivating cannabis and charged with dealing and cultivation. This led to the Constitutional challenge that resulted in the freedom of cannabis in South Africa. In 2018 the Constitutional Court unanimously held that the laws prohibiting the usage of cannabis by adults, in private spaces, were unconstitutional. The South African Government were thus ordered to create an enabling and legitimate environment for cannabis and the cannabis community.
Ras Prince persevered by working with NGO’s such as Lawyers for Human Rights and Surplus People Project, whilst assisting and representing Rastafari and members of the cannabis community at the Parliament of World Religions and the Consultative Conference of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Cultural Religious and Linguistic Rights of Communities. Currently he is the National Chairperson of the Cannabis Development Council of South Africa and Legal Advisor by profession.