The Medical Control Centre has announced that the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes has now been approved.
Inkhata Freedom Party Member of Parliament, Narend Singh received a letter from the centre confirming this (The Mercury verified seeing the letter), and hailed it as a victory for the late IFP MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini, who was a long-time advocate for the legalization of the drug.
However, Singh did point out that the party removed references to legalizing it for recreational use, saying that they wanted to ensure that the bill was passed, so that a greater number of people could have access to affordable treatment.
“Thousands of patients are already using cannabis oil, which comes at a premium price, and we wanted it to be made freely accessible so that the patient going to Addington or any other state hospital can request this without the exorbitant costs associated. Patients must have the freedom of choice,” Singh said.
The South African Medical Association warned that the legislation was only for the medicinal use of cannabis, not for recreational use, that still remained illegal.
Rule issued by the the Medicines Control Council for the use of medicinal cannabis:
- 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 authorisation to prescribe a controlled medicine for a specific patient.
- Authorisation 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.