Amendments on usage of dagga for medical purposes only, warns SAMA
The South African Medical Association (Sama) has warned the public that the proposed amendments to allow for the medical use of dagga would be implemented along strict guidelines.
“On 23 November, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Health announced that the Department of Health would soon regulate access to medical cannabis for prescribed health conditions,” Sama chairperson Mzukisi Grootboom said on Wednesday.
“The public, and healthcare professionals, should note, however, that the Medical Innovation Bill seeks to allow cannabis for medical purposes only. The bill, and the regulatory framework to be introduced by the Health Department, do not apply to cannabis for recreational purposes, which remains illegal in South Africa.”
Grootboom said the difference between recreational and medicinal dagga (cannabis) “created worldwide confusion”. A process by the World Medical Association (WMA) to develop a position on medical dagga, emphasised the need to make a clear distinction between recreational and therapeutic use, he said.
The range of conditions for which medical dagga was used varied from country to country and was informed by varying degrees of scientific evidence.
“As a professional medical body with prime concern for patient safety and protection, Sama subscribes to the principle of evidence-based healthcare and maintains that policy decisions on medical cannabis should be based on high-quality scientific evidence,” said Grootboom.
He added that regulations needed to adequately provide for the safe prescription and dispensing of dagga and that medical prescription of the drug should only be dispensed at a pharmacy.
“Even with careful regulation of medical cannabis, experience from other countries shows that the risk of counterfeit ‘patients’ abusing cannabis medication for recreation, or for profit, remains a problem.”
Guess we’ll have to wait for the NAPPI code for dagga?