South Africa MCC Issues Draft Rules for MMJ Program

South Africa’s Medicines Control Council has drafted guidelines for medical cannabis cultivation and processing, setting the standards producers would need to meet in order to provide safe and reliable products, according to a Business Day report.

Prospective growers would need to obtain a license from the MCC and from the Department of Health. The rules would not allow medical cannabis to be grown on the same plot as hemp in order to protect the integrity of both plants. There is no limit on the number of licenses the agency could grant, however overall quantities grown nationwide could not exceed quotas set by the International Narcotics Control Board. Physicians would also be able to apply to import products not registered in South Africa. Currently the MCC has only registered one medical cannabis product which contains synthetic CBD.

The South African Medical Association supported legalizing cannabis for medical use, and in 2016 the Central Drug Authority published a position paper in the South African Medical Journal that supported a program with strong oversight.

“Products based on ingredients of the cannabis plant should undergo standard evaluation by the MCC to assess their benefits and risks for the treatment of particular medical conditions,” the paper said.

The agency is holding public comment on the regulations until Mar. 31.

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