Is Cannabis in South Africa now legal for medicinal use?
No it is not.
Cannabis in South Africa is still a Schedule 7 substance and therefore illegal.
There is no current application form to obtain a licence to cultivate and you cannot get it via a prescription from your doctor.
The MCC (Medicine’s Control Council) and the CDA (Central Drug Authority) maintain that South Africans can access a synthetic THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) cannabinoid product called Dronabinol via a Section 21 application form to the MCC – link can be found here.
The MCC is busy formulating the framework for legal medical cannabis access and the licensing process in South Africa. The MCC should be releasing this ‘blue print’ in the second quarter.
This framework then needs to be put forward for public comment and go to the various government departments and stakeholders for feedback. Only once all of this has been done will it go before parliament and signed into law.
This process could take several months or more, unless the process is fast-tracked like what is happening in Australia.
This fast-track process allows Australian companies to apply for a special licence or permit to import cannabis until domestic supply reaches demand.
South Africans are, and have been for a while, cultivating cannabis at home for their own personal medicinal use.
With this in mind I don’t believe this framework due to be released by the MCC regarding guidelines or restrictions will stop South Africans from growing cannabis for their own personal medicinal use.
Medical cannabis has helped thousands of lives all over South Africa and there is no way to know just how many people’s quality of life it has improved or even saved? It may be anecdotal, but there’s a lot of truth to most of them.
When the MCC releases this ‘blue print’ for legal cannabis access via prescription and/or to cultivate or grow cannabis for medicinal use it may just be too late.
If you are wanting to see the medical cannabis process fast-tracked I suggest writing to your local or national newspaper, showing your support and bringing the subject into the public domain for discussion.
I have been waiting patiently, but after 5 years of waiting I personally have run out of patience.
The time has come for all of us who support this cause to band together and make sure this legal framework is made available soonest or at least ‘fast-tracked’ to get medical cannabis to South Africans this year.
With this in mind I am on a mission and remain determined to see this through. The Green Rush has started.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Written by Ralph Higgo, Medical Cannabis Consultant