South African government is about finalizing its stand on whether or not it would legalize the use of medical marijuana in the country.
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) member of Parliament (MP) Mario Ambrosini who has since 2014, been pleading with Jacob Zuma’s government to legalize marijuana use for medical purposes, seems to be receiving positive result as the IFP says that they have received a letter confirming that the medicines Control Council last week presented its findings to the council.
Ambrosini was suffering from Stage 4 lung cancer. He took his own life in 2014 before the motion could be passed. But the IFP continued to push for the legalization years after, now the party said on the Cape Talk morning show that their hard work would soon pay off as they look forward to seeing government legalizing medical marijuana by the end of February.
IFP’s Narend Singh said the Medicines Control Council (MCC) working group on cannabis had written to him saying it expects to publish soon its proposed guidelines on cannabis production for medicinal use.
“For us, this is a step in the right direction,” Singh told the Huffington Post South Africa on Monday.
“Well, actually the step in the right direction was when it was endorsed at the last formal, public meeting of the Health Portfolio Committee in November last year, where the department did indicate the intention to now relook at this matter and find ways and means of getting the research done.”
The legalization of the drug will come after the group publish their proposals and guidelines for public comment. The IFP were keen to stress that their push for the legalization is and always has been to help those suffering from terminal diseases.
“I think there is a bit of a misconception with a number of people that have seen this on social media – that there is going to be a ‘free for all’. It is certainly not a free for all, it’s a point of departure for government is that ‘okay let us accept that we need to research the efficacy of these products for pain relief,” said Narend Singh IFP Chief Whip
Medical Marijuana is used to treat patients with chronic or painful illnesses including cancer, severe epilepsy and motor neurone disease. Cancer patients in most first world countries can get access to medical marijuana. If someone is suffering from terrible pain and close to death, surely they deserve any bit of relief they can get.
Singh said that the letter he received from the MCC’s Dr. Joey Gouws said: “I wish to confirm that our office is working on a number of guidance documents to be shared with the public relating to the manufacture of cannabis for medicinal purposes. 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 medication is not to be smoked as people usually do, – smoking marijuana could increase bronchial irritations and reduce the potency- patients are however administered the drug as an oil or vaporiser form.
Legalizing the use of the drug could positively affect the country’s economy as farmers would be allowed to grow them locally. This could equally bring massive rewards for farmers, distributors and even pickers.
Countries like Australia has already approved the importation and growing of Medical Marijuana for medical purposes in the country.