Debate rages after cannabis oil bust

Social media users call for unbanning in wake of alleged producer’s arrest

A raging debate over the legalisation of cannabis – particularly cannabis oil – came to the fore over the past two weeks since the arrest of a Port Elizabeth man who was allegedly producing the oil.

Vocal social media users called for the unbanning of cannabis oil, with many saying police should be focusing on more important issues.

A spokesman for dedicated Haematological Services NGO, the Igazi Foundation, however, warned that not enough research had yet been undertaken to confirm the effectiveness of the oil.

Just last month in parliament, the Medical Marijuana Bill was rejected.

The Bill, introduced by former Inkatha Freedom Party MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini in 2014, was aimed at legalising and regulating the use of cannabinoids for medicinal purposes.

For Port Elizabeth resident Michelle Campbell, cannabis oil has provided vast relief for pain associated with health issues and as such she has become a firm advocate of the oil.

She has been using it for more than a year after having undergone a hysterectomy.

“I believe in its heath benefits because it’s definitely helped me a lot. I had a huge growth in my uterus and the cannabis oil helped me with pain management and general health and I credit a lot of my healing to cannabis oil,” she said.

“It definitely helped me get back on my feet.”

A cannabis activist, who did not want to give his name as he produces the oil, said he treated about 108 patients nationally a month using his products.

Going by the name Cannaman, the man said he had started producing cannabis oils six years ago and had begun using them on himself.

He said he had seen the benefits with his blood pressure normalising and his weight dropping.

He said his family had also begun using the products.

“My youngest patient is a threemonth-old baby born with psoriasis and the oldest is 93 years old.

“When I stumbled across the Rick Simpson [a Canadian oil producer] cannabis oils I started doing research from there and started making oils for myself and it grew from there,” he said.

Cannaman said he had treated recovering alcoholics, recovering drug addicts, children with ADHD and cancer patients.

He said he was pro legalisation and was among the people fighting to get it legalised, but because of his status – he has a criminal record after being caught with marijuana – he could not apply for a distribution licence.

Igazi Foundation spokesman Cole Cameron, however, said medical information around cannabis oil was sketchy and he could not confirm whether it truly helped or not.

“It can perhaps alleviate pain, but it certainly doesn’t cure anything and doctors, within the law, are now allowed to prescribe it,” Cameron said.

Following the December 17 arrest of a 53-year-old Kabega Park man who was allegedly producing cannabis oil, social media user Leela Bear said the raid was “cr**”.

“So many people rely on the beneficial factors yet all are treated as criminals. Get with the times,” she said.

Another user, Jayson O’Hanrahan, wrote: “This post has proved one thing.

“People are standing up more and more towards a very outdated and uniformed law.”

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