We had a little chat with Marylou from CannabizArt – a cannabis art and activism platform fighting for the cannabis use rights of any and all South Africans.
How did CannabizArt start?
I had always been involved in cannabis activism, but ramped up our efforts after being raided at home in 2015 by over 20 policemen looking for “drruks”. They only found cannabis plants but they put us through hell and arrested my husband, locked him up in a disgusting holding cell for 3 days.
As an artist who worked in ceramics, mosaics for most of my life, I wanted to help raise funds for Fields of Green for All, after we had joined the Q and had the charges withdrawn and our bail returned.
What does the symbol of the Cannabis Leaf mean to you? Its a reminder to be an independent thinker and always
Question authority – they have been lying to everyone for over 100 years about cannabis, what else have they lied about?
Do you believe Cannabis has influenced the contemporary art world?
I don’t know. Some artists swear it encourages creativity, others just sit on the couch thinking, but not creating. I do believe it has influenced the music world enormously.
How are you guys affiliated to Fields of Green and why would one affiliate themselves with the movement?
I am affiliated from early days, raising funds, from every sale I make – which isn’t terribly many, but every bit helps. Myrtle has taken Cannabizart all over the world, and has gifted it to cannabis “celebrities” all over the world. I made a special plate for Prof Nutt after he worked so hard as an expert witness at Trial of the Plant (Part one.) I donate products, whenever I can, for fundraising and for prizes – and volunteer to work behind the scenes like at the Cannabis Convention or at DDay, whenever possible.
Regarding why would one want to be affiliated to Fields of Green for ALL, I would have to ask a question back – Why not? They have been the only truly organised cannabis legalisation NGO, in SA, to date. Myrtle and Jules and their team of staff, volunteers and their brilliant legal team Schindlers have done an unquantifiable amount of work, writing legal and draft policy docs, know your rights pamphlets, cannabis info docs and spreading awareness across SA and the world. They have given advice and helped many 1000s of South Africans to avoid jail time. They have spent millions of their own funds pursuing this cause relentlessly, and I feel honoured to be on board, and supporting them.
If one wants to be a part of CannabizArt how do they get involved?
Artists who are from Garden Route, are invited to send me photos of their cannabis themed product, and I will add the product under my brand, to the website, if I think its a good, original and arty product, that the cannabis community might need. I order their product, pay in full on receipt of it, and re-sell it with a markup. So I won’t buy anything I don’t absolutely love, myself.
Why do you so strongly believe that cannabis needs to be re-legalised?
Because prohibition is one of the longest, ongoing crimes against humanity and has caused so much harm to good people, over the last 100 years.
It’s a plant FFS, a useful one. I can buy any deadly poisonous plant at most nurseries. Making Nature Illegal is a crime, its a blunt instrument of oppression, used since the colonialists were in charge, steeped in racism, and based on propaganda and lies.
How can people get involved in the re-legalisation cause?
They need to sign the dagga Couple petition. Join the green Network. Support the various fun parties and events. Buy CannabizArt stuff!
Support businesses that support legalization. Don’t hide your love of cannabis away or be ashamed of being a cannabis user.
What stigma around cannabis upsets you the most?
Words the media use, “dagga lab”, or calling cannabis a drug. ‘Recreational use’ should be called ‘responsible adult use’. Stupid memes on facebook making out that cannabis users are lazy and stupid. People saying it makes you psychotic or its a gateway drug – all completely false. Its an exit drug, for many.
What potential do you believe cannabis has in South Africa?
Huge potential. As long as all the farmers are allowed to enter the industry, not just mega rich foreign corporations. Plenty of articles have been written about Cannabis and Hemp’s huge potential on various Financial news platforms.
What role has Cannabis played in your life?
I started smoking more seriously when I was finished school and have enjoyed it every day for the last 3 decades. I like the flavours of delicious beautifully grown cannabis. I don’t like going into a room of strangers stoned, because that makes me feel self-conscious.
It is definitely best enjoyed at home or out in nature. Don’t go shopping stoned either, you end up buying all sorts of junk. I have learned that some strains/cultivars make you more anxious, while others will calm you down and make you sleepy. I love growing cannabis at home and I try to use every single part of the plant for different things. Nothing goes to waste.
What is the future of CannabizArt?
Right now I am going full speed ahead making medicinal soap, and face creams. I have been so inspired by the feedback I get after curing people of eczema, and helping others to get instant relief from all sorts of skin issues. Cannabis is so versatile and effective, and that inspires me to keep on raising funds, while making friends with happy customers across South Africa.
I will also continue to sell ceramic stoneware bowls, cushion covers, and tablecloths (made to order). I still need a few more outlets- and hope to employ a few agents to sell for me, at markets and cannabis friendly events, but also have to try keep overheads as low as I can. If orders keep coming in I might even be able to employ someone to help me soon.
If you want to support the cause and play a part in the re-legalisation of cannabis, check out the many awesome little cannabis art pieces on their website. And thank you to Marylou for her time and all the hard work her and her team are putting in towards the future of cannabis!