Life tends to be very unpredictable and often forces us to make decisions we never thought we'd make.
One woman who can relate is Belinda* who is 27 years old. A few years ago she made the decision to drop out of varsity just after her second year. She was studying towards her LLB at the University of Witwatersrand.
The 27 year old hadn't always planned on selling dagga and firmly believed that she would become a lawyer and settle down into a more conventional life. Here's her story:
"The decision to quit varsity came after my parents separation (which subsequently resulted in a divorce). I'd decided that I needed my own apartment and space away from them and all the family drama. After my first year in my own place, I realised that I wasn't interested in law. Admittedly it was a tough decision to make but I promised myself that I might go back to study one day.
Once I'd moved into my own apartment, I had to get a job. After a few weeks of hunting, without much experience and an incomplete degree, I settled for the first position available to me at a local bar, which was a bartending gig.
A few months later, I met my then boyfriend who introduced me to dagga.
I enjoyed smoking it purely for relaxation purposes but after noticing the large number of people whom I worked with or came to the bar and enjoyed burning a blunt or two, it dawned on me that selling it could actually be a lucrative business venture.
I always had a mind for business and weighed up the risks - both the legal implications and what it would be like to sell drugs as a woman considering the largely male market.
Of course selling dagga is a criminal offense, so I had to learn everything about the business so I could circumvent getting into trouble with the law.
Luckily for me, I come across as a 'well spoken' woman who looks like the last person anyone would suspect but it all came down to being street smart essentially.
I actually grow some of my own weed, but because of the amount of maintenance that goes into it, I sell it at a substantially higher price than my other product which I get from a supplier in Lesotho.
If you're at all familiar to the dagga business, you'd see my prices don't differ very much from the normal rates. A small "bankie" (which is one of those mini bank bags) goes for about R50 while a big one goes for R100. I also sell larger amounts (about 20 grams) for R200.
You can definitely say business is booming. Having this little business on the side has brought me an extra income between R 4 000 and R6 000 every month.
I've also managed to establish a wide range of regular clientele and working at a bar is also a plus because people are always looking for a place to buy marijuana.
I've never sold dagga to anyone under the age of of 18 and most of my customers are well passed the age of making responsible decisions. I never plan to sell anything but dagga which I see as a herb and not a life-ruining drug.
Now that it is legal following the very recent decision made by the Constitutional Court, that dagga will now be allowed for personal use in SA, there won't be that much shame around smoking it, which directly translates to more customers. However, there will also be more competition and other entrepreneurs such as myself, looking to cash in on what now has the potential to be an even bigger and more positive business venture.
Luckily in my three years of selling, I haven't been arrested. I have though had a couple of customers who I refused to sell to because of the way they were behaving but fortunately things never became physical and I've managed to stay pretty safe.
Right now, I don't regret quitting law school and getting into the dagga business. I've managed to make a success of it.
*Name has been changed
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