Continuing a long journey — a two-year process of deliberations, investigation and research, prompted by the Medical Innovation Bill, according to the South African IFP political party — new guidelines around medical marijuana will be up for public comment in the coming weeks.
Former IFP MP Dr. Mario Oriani-Ambrosini first introduced the bill, before losing his own battle with terminal cancer in 2014.
“There seems to be a realization that we cannot be left out as a country with permitting the use of medical marijuana,” said IFP chief whip Narend Singh. “Other countries are doing that under very strict conditions.”
Related Story: Flying With Legal Weed: Does The TSA Care About Marijuana?
The new guidelines would make marijuana strictly regulated by the government, but available for those who need it for pain relief or medicinal purposes, including in government hospitals.
According to the South African cannabis news outlet BTL, the Medicines Control Council is South Africa’s drug regulatory authority which is governed by the Medicines and Related Substances Act:
- Under this Act, medical practitioners can apply to the Council for permission to access and prescribe unregistered medicines – including cannabis – for their patients in certain exceptional circumstances.
- Medicinal cannabis products may thus be made available to specific patients under medical supervision.
- Only registered medical practitioners may apply for authorization to prescribe a controlled medicine for a specific patient.
- Authorization from the council is dependent on the submission of an appropriate dosage regimen and acceptable justification for the proposed and intended use.
- The necessary procedures for approval of the importation of suitable cannabis products for medicinal use by patients with defined medical conditions are already in place.
- Licensed domestic cultivation of medicinal cannabis will be aimed at ensuring the supply of a standardized, 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 / 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.
- The legislative framework to allow for domestic cultivation of medicinal cannabis is currently under development by the Department of Health in consultation with the Medicines Control Council.
Related Story: What Is The Future Of Weed? 6 Predictions For 2017
Advocates warn that while people may be excited to have this new step forward in legalization, it doesn’t mean that legal weed will happen overnight for South Africa. But it is a move in a progressive direction.