The medical cannabis license requirements for South Africa have just been announced by the Medicines Control Council and can be read here.
There has been much anticipation for the release of the licensing guidelines and requirements following the massive amount of public comment made in support of permitting local cannabis research and medcicinal use. The Medcial Control Council stated that, “This document provides the principles behind the minimum requirements in terms of quality, security and standard operating procedures relating to the cultivation of Cannabis and the manufacture and use of Cannabis- related pharmaceutical products for medicinal and research purposes that will need to be in place should an application be submitted to the Medicines Control Council and the Department of Health for consideration. This guideline represents the Medicines Control Council’s current thinking on the measures required to be in place to ensure that quality products are cultivated and harvested and made available to patients when prescribed by an authorized prescriber / physician. Council and the Department reserve the right to request any additional information and may make amendments in keeping with current knowledge.”
“This framework, developed in consultation with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), is intended to control the cultivation, production and manufacturing of Cannabis-containing products intended for medicinal use in South Africa. Licensed domestic cultivation of Cannabis for medicinal use is aimed at ensuring sufficient local supply for medical, scientific and clinical research purposes and the implementation of control measures necessary to prevent diversion and misuse, as well as to ensure patient safety.”
The document then goes into the full and exacting standards that will be expected regarding the cultivation, possession, transportation, export, import, handling and processing of the plant in all of its various stages. Although it even goes so far as to impose a seed to sale tracking model, it seems rather skint on details for those who seek access to these products. Suggesting that patients should adhere to the existing restrictive protocols for access to medical cannabis products, “To date, patient access to unregistered Cannabis or cannabinoid-containing medicines has been enabled by the MCC through importation of these products.”
Most notably there are no provisions for patients to grow their own medicine, with significant emphasis being placed on the stringent security requirements for any interaction surrounding with the plant or its materials. All things considered it may yet be quite some time before medical cannabis products are realistically available in SA.