Irresponsible tabloid journalism, where facts on cannabis were badly misrepresented, if not completely distorted, only served to entrench negative attitudes. Greedy politicians hungry for power capitalized on public fears and misconceptions in order to further their careers, while the balance was left up to ignorant, incompetent and corrupt legislators to make a harmless, useful and common weed illegal.
These are the only reasons why cannabis is a prohibited substance. Not because it is harmful. It isn't. Neither is it a "gateway drug" and parents desperate to find a scapegoat on which to blame their child's drug addictions should rather look at their own failed parenting skills or point fingers at the tobacco companies, because cigarettes are the leading drug of choice to be experimented with first by most teenagers, not cannabis.
Cannabis is deeply ingrained in all of Africa's cultures and traditions. It is used by both sexes from all races and across all age groups. Members of every profession smoke it, including upstanding citizens who contribute meaningfully to society. In fact ONE THIRD of middle class South Africans smoke cannabis. South Africa's renowned cricket player Herschelle Gibbs got himself into trouble for smoking it. Music legend Johnny Clegg smoked cannabis. Even former President Nelson Mandela admitted to smoking weed and, unlike Bill Clinton, he inhaled.