Getting Real: Government About To Publish Guidelines For Medical Marijuana South Africa

By Dana Sanchez Published: February 20, 2017, 2:37 pm
Durban Poison. Photo: TheClinicColorado.com

Marijuana is illegal in South Africa and everywhere else in Africa, but the country is a step closer to legalizing it for medicinal purposes.

The South African government plans to soon publish proposed guidelines for production of cannabis, known locally as dagga.

“This is a major breakthrough and fantastic news for freedom of choice,” said Narend Singh, member of parliament for the Inkatha Freedom Party.

From Huffington Post.

Inkatha Freedom Party member of Parliament Narend Singh said the Medicines Control Council working group on cannabis had written to him saying it expects to publish soon its proposed guidelines on cannabis production for medicinal use.

“For us, this is a step in the right direction,” Singh told the Huffington Post South Africa on Monday.

In November 2016, the MCC issued a memo on the legal framework around legalizing dagga for medicinal use.

“In recent years, a small but growing body of evidence has emerged suggesting that cannabis may have medicinal value for some patients in conditions where other treatments have failed,” said the memo.

“Licensed domestic cultivation of medicinal cannabis will be aimed at ensuring the supply of a standardised, quality-assured product for medical, scientific and clinical research purposes, and the implementation of control measures necessary to prevent misuse and to ensure patient safety. Cannabis grown or cultivated for medicinal purposes, as well as any resulting products prepared from the plant material, will remain subject to stringent security and quality control measures.”

Singh couldn’t say how soon the draft documents could become law. This would depend on factors including the public consultation.

There is also a case due to be heard before the Constitutional Court, calling for the full legalisation of marijuana, including for recreational use.

“Nobody is allowed to possess cannabis in our country at the moment, for whatever purposes,” Singh said.

Singh said the hemp industry was interested in getting the strain of cannabis used for hemp legalised as well — you can’t get high on that strain — so it can be grown locally instead of imported.

“Cannabis has got different strains, different varieties, different content. And we are importing (cannabis worth $76 million) a year for hemp production, and we should be allowing that variety of cannabis to be grown in our own country,” Singh said.

However the focus of the potential legislation is “purely on cannabis for medicinal purposes and its accessibility to those who need it,” Singh said.

As a cancer sufferer in need of palliative pain relief, former Inkatha MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini introduced the Medical Innovation Bill in Parliament in February 2014 for the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes. He pleaded with MPs to support the change in the law. Inkatha has since taken up his bill. Oriani-Ambrosini died of cancer six months later.

Read more at Huffington Post.

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