Move on medical dagga use hailed

The proposed cultivation and production of dagga for medical use is groundbreaking and will herald the start of the “plant of a thousand uses” being taken up for other purposes, including industrial, according to campaigners.

This comes in the wake of the Medicines Control Council (MCC) adopting new guidelines for the medicinal use of dagga in South Africa.

MCC law enforcement manager Griffith Molewa said the guidelines had been discussed and adopted by the council at a meeting last month.

“We are [collating] the suggestions proposed at that meeting. After this, we will publish the guidelines on our website,” Molewa said.

The move has been hailed by the Inkatha Freedom Party, whose former MP Mario Ambrosini championed the cause in parliament before he died of lung cancer in 2014.

It has also been welcomed by prominent Port Elizabeth dagga campaigner David Pittaway, who argues that legalising and taxing it could generate money that could be used to fund indigent students. “But this [medicinal use guidelines] must be a movement away from the reign of corporate pharmaceutical control of the health industry,” Pittaway said.

Molewa said the aim of the guidelines would be to inform the public about the requirements to be met before being allowed to produce dagga for medicinal purposes.

“This cannabis [dagga] will then become legal to cultivate . . . for medicinal purposes only,” he said.

The guideline document would be published to allow for public comment. The document would then be published for implementation.

Any person who meets the criteria as set out in the guidelines will be granted a permit to cultivate dagga for medical purposes.

“The amount to be cultivated for the entire country will be subject to negotiations between South Africa and the International Narcotics Control Board,” Molewa said. “This amount will then be divided among the growers.”

He said the Medicines and Related Substances Act stated clearly how medicines were to be handled and controlled to avoid abuse.

As a schedule six medicine, dagga would be available only through a pharmacist, doctor, dentist or veterinarian.

He said dagga for medicinal use would be allowed in any pharmaceutical dosage form, but not smoking.

Pittaway called the move “a major step in the direction of people’s rights – in this instance, the right to choose”.

“Soon we will be able to choose to use a medicine that has a cultural legacy in this country without the fear of state-led persecution, so this is also a victory for what one can broadly call the older cultures that had [and in some instances still have] a stronger connection with Mother Earth,” he said.

“It is vitally important that this connection is strengthened . . . considering the backdrop of the ecological crisis.”

Pittaway agreed with Inkatha MP Narend Singh, who has cautioned against potential monopolisation in the production of the herb.

“[It] must be available and affordable to all people in a format where the natural medicinal properties remain intact, which will not be the case when privatising powers attempt to patent this or that molecule and butcher the plant’s holistic properties.

“This move hopefully will mark the beginning of a movement in the direction not just of the freedom to choose to use the ‘plant of a thousand uses’ for medicinal purposes, but for various other purposes, including industrial and personal use.

“I, for one, wish to live in a mature society where I have power over my own consciousness, and where I can exercise that power by choosing to use cannabis in a responsible fashion if I so wish.”

The guidelines will be published on

2 thoughts on “Move on medical dagga use hailed

  • March 2, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Dagga is tried & tested, People have been using it responsibly for 1000’s of years. Science informs it’s a therapeutic plant. All use is medicinal. It interacts beneficially with our endocannabinoid system, when consumed in it’s natural (plant) state. Broad spectrum benefits from the ‘Entourage Effect’. It’s healthcare for those who can’t afford medical aid.

    References here: fieldsofgreenforall (dot) org (dot) za/expert-witnesses/

    Read the 369a-and-b-notice’s to better inform yourself regarding dagga.

    • March 4, 2017 at 7:52 am

      dagga is by no means a safe or soft drug or a medicine. and here again we have medical applications being used to support recreational use.
      Firstly, there is no such thing as ‘medical dagga’. This is a phrase coined by pro-leglizationists in an effort to muster sympathetic support from the public.
      Smoking ANY substance, whatever it may be is harmful to the human body. FULL STOP. other methods of ingestion also introduce chemicals in dagga that are not beneficial to the body. This is accepted medically worldwide.
      Let’s consider medical applications. however we have a major problem in the fact that people are claiming that they smoke dagga for medical reasons which for the reason stated above is impossible.
      If chemicals in the cannabis plant are isolated tested and made into medications proven safe for public consumption, then perhaps. and this must be done through the traditional processes.
      Some groups (such as yours i believe) of people are pushing for legalization under the medical banner have even stated that their aim in doing so is to eventually have dagga legalized for recreational use.
      And many who want dagga legalized for medical applications are attempting to bypass traditional channels altogether! Any potential medications must pass through scientific testing, the Medicines Control Council and so forth.
      If the matter is handled responsibly, recreational use is separated completely from the issue (which of course it won’t be as that’s what you guys are actually pushing for) and traditional routes for new medications are adhered to and decisions based on science and medicine and not opinion, emotion and anecdotal evidence then perhaps.
      So you see the problem in all of this. in fact, those legitimately looking for help in the form of these potential medications are being harmed by the very people pushing their campaign!
      There is no such thing as ‘medical dagga’ in of itself. This is just a phrase coined by pro legalizationists to give the impression that the whole dagga plant, which they in fact want to smoke to get high, can be used as medicine which is completely false.
      they are trying to push through the smoking of dagga recreationally on the back of potential medical applications.
      So no, dagga is not medicine at all. Can some chemicals in dagga be used to make medicines, perhaps. But this is a matter of science and should be handled through traditional channels and is not a matter of opinion, emotion or personal belief.


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