There is a questionable process for acquiring medical Cannabis in South Africa. Your doctor has to approve it and submit an application on your behalf to Sahpra, the medicines regulator. Once approved the doctor can prescribe Cannabis for six months only, and there is no info available on who is going to dispense (TRADE IN) this medicine as Cannabis is still illegal according to the Drugs and Drug Trafficking act. And so our government conflicts itself…
This, although it is a legal provision, is treated like a loophole for abuse by many and there are websites appearing where medical practitioners offer to hand out prescriptions to anyone asking, which renders the provision dysfunctional. As the only supposed legal way to acquire Cannabis medicine, Section 21 simply screams out human rights abuses and warped prohibitionist regulations, and remains trumped by Section 22, the right to human dignity, which by itself justifies legal Dagga. If regulated according to the scale of harms (Dagga is less harmful than cigarettes or alcohol) it should be readily available for anyone wanting to try natural alternatives.
According to the 1992 Drugs Act, Cannabis was a Schedule 7 drug but the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) decided to drop the classification to Schedule 4 in 2017. Towards the end of May 2019, South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) gazetted a regulatory notice titled “Exemption Of Certain Cannabidiol Products From The Operation Of The Medicines Act”, followed by an official press release on the 27th May 2019. This was followed by a high court application launched by the Traditional and Natural Healers Association in December 2018 to review the 2017 scheduling of CBD as a Schedule 4 medicine, and which threatened to eliminate all CBD and CBD-containing products then sold on the market. CBD can now be prescribed by a doctor, and if the dose is less than a certain threshold, a prescription is not needed. This resulted in the explosion of CBD products currently seen on the market.
The Medicines and Related Substances Act 101 of 1965 speaks to the requirements of registering a substance as a recognised and approved medicine. This act governs the operations of bodies such as the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) and the Health Professional Council of South Africa (HPCSA), addressing the process from its formulation up to the patient receiving their medicine.