By Socrates Mbamalu*
South Africa is a country of many firsts. The rainbow nation will soon become the first African country to legalise cannabis sativa popularly called marijuana. The legislation is based strictly on medical grounds. The country’s Medicines Control Council (MCC) stated that it would soon publish its proposed guidelines on cannabis production for medicinal use.
In what the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) considers a major achievement after championing the legalisation of cannabis through its late MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini who died of lung cancer in 2014, the same year he introduced a bill in Parliament seeking for the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal purposes, cannabis sativa, under the Medical Innovation Bill will soon be legalised, but only for medicinal purposes.
The bill was initially opposed by the Democratic Alliance (DA). The DA later on changed its position on the bill and supported it.
Nared Singh, an IFP MP was quoted by the Huffington Post South Africa saying, “for us this is a step in the right direction.”
Ghana reveals a proposal to decriminalize the use of marijuana
The MP had received a letter from the Medicines Control Council (MCC) stating it would soon publish its proposed guidelines on cannabis production for medicinal use.
“These guideline documents have been prepared by the MCC cannabis working group, who will report to the MCC at their meeting of 16 and 17 February 2017 on the guidelines and investigations done to support regulatory processes for the manufacture of cannabis for medicinal use. Having said that, I trust that our office will be able to share the MCC proposed guidelines for the manufacture of cannabis for medicinal use on the MCC website following the planned MCC meeting of mid-February,” the letter reads.
The IFP also wants cannabis to be legalised for recreational use. Currently in South Africa, the possession of cannabis is illegal. The medical legalisation is more specific and it’s what the IFP focused on. This would make cannabis to be downgraded from a Schedule 7 banned substance to a Schedule 6 prescription drug.
Scientific research has shown that cannabis could be a good natural cancer treatment plant as opposed to other forms of treatments like chemotherapy. South Africa will be focusing on research and how to control the use of cannabis.
There have been positive reactions to the legalisation of the substance.