Victor Bergrmann

South African Parliament Announces First MMJ Program Details

South Africa’s Parliament has announced that the Department of Health will begin regulating medicinal cannabis for a variety of chronic conditions for which traditional treatment options have failed or have intolerable side effects, the Ladysmith Gazette reports.

The decision comes after two years of deliberations and the death of MP Dr. Mario Oriani-Ambrosini, who introduced the bill during his own battle with terminal cancer. The bill was reintroduced by MP Narend Singh following the death of his colleague in 2014.

“This heralds a great step forward for public access and research into the use of medicinal cannabis,” Singh said in the report. “What matters now is that the Department ensures that access to medicinal cannabis will not be restricted to the rich, but that anyone who needs it will be able to afford it, and get it.”

Severe chronic pain, HIV/AIDS, wasting syndrome, epileptic seizures, severe muscle spasms, and other conditions related to cancer and cancer treatments are among the conditions that will be considered for medical cannabis use.

The Health Department expects to begin accepting public comment and to have regulatory framework for the program by the end of January 2017. It could be implemented by April.

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