CBD is legal in South Africa, but now the country moves ahead with its plans to make medical marijuana with higher THC loads legal too.
The South African government initiated the process of legal medical marijuana with an announcement and a letter to Narend Singh, IFP MP. The letter from the Medical Control Council (MCC) is in response to Singh’s presentation to the council earlier this month.
Business tech reports on the victory. As Singh remarked, it is a major breakthrough for freedom of choice and fantastic news. He also paid tribute to late IFP MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini, who advocated marijuana legalization in parliament before dying of cancer. He included recreational use in his original bill, but Singh excluded it to ensure faster approval.
The South African Medical Association (SAMA) warned that strict guidelines would have to be followed to obtain legal medical marijuana. Mzukisi Grootboom chairperson of SAMA, said healthcare practitioners must take note the Medical Innovation Bill allows cannabis only for medical use. The bill does not allow for recreational use of cannabis. It is still illegal in South Africa.
The MCC regulates drugs in South Africa under the Medicines and Related Substances Act.
MCC gives guidelines
- Medical practitioners must apply to the MCC under exceptional conditions if they want to prescribe unregistered medicines like cannabis.
- If the MCC gives its permission, patients may use medical cannabis products under the supervision of the medical practitioner.
- Only registered medical practitioners may apply for permission for specific patients with specific conditions.
- The MCC will only consider authorization if doctors propose a relevant dosage regime, and proper grounds for the proposed usage.
- The procedures for importing approved suitable medical marijuana products, defined by the conditions it will be used for, are already in place.
- The government will control the medical cannabis industry, and will do everything in its power to ensure patients’ safety.
- Any cannabis plants, or products prepared from the plants, and plant material will be subject to high-security measures and quality control.
- The Department of Health in collaboration with the MCC is currently devising the legal framework for local cultivation of medical marijuana.
The government will soon publish specific production guidelines.
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CBD is legal but costly. Government wants hospitals to provide both THC and CBD oil from hospitals
Singh said that thousands of patients are already paying premium prices for cannabis products. CBD is legal and people buy illegal THC oil on the black market. The legislation aims to make cannabis treatments accessible to any patient who needs it at any state hospital on request without costs being excessive.
Production should aim to make an affordable medicine available to those who need it. This will extend accessibility beyond those who have money and can afford an exclusive drug of choice.
Education for doctors, public
The Anti-Drug Alliance of South Africa stressed the fact that the public awareness on medicinal marijuana use will be important. The group also emphasized the need for doctors’ education and training on marijuana as an alternative treatment. The negative brainwashing around cannabis must be unlearned, said Quintin van Kerken.