- Janet O’Donoghue
CANNABIS PROHIBITION - THE BROKEN LAW
Ever since the prohibition of the Cannabis plant was Internationally imposed, Traditional Health Practitioners, together with natural healing practitioners of all cultures in South Africa, have been excluded from legitimately participating in the practice and development of natural Cannabis extracts and treatments in any form whatsoever. Nothing has changed.
The director of traditional medicine, Mr Mbedzi’s statement “Cannabis/Dagga in terms of the categorization under the TM regulations, falls under category 1.” is not legally sound. The I.T.H.P.C.S.A. does not have the authority to supersede the Medicines Act, which is very clear, and Traditional Health Practitioners are still excluded under current law, whether in their private home or not, because:
1. the plant Cannabis Sativa L. is listed on Schedule 7 of the schedules of the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act 101 of 1965.
2. of the nature and context of the 2018 Constitutional Court judgement itself i.e. “Sections 4(b) and 5(b) of [the] Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act 140 of 1992 read with Part III of Schedule 2 of that Act and Section 22A(9)(a)(1) of the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act 101 of 1965 [are] inconsistent with section 14 [of Chapter 2] of the Constitution [the right to privacy] to the extent that they criminalise the use or possession in private or cultivation in a private place of cannabis by an adult for his or her own personal consumption in private.”
The sale of Cannabis and by default the purchase of Cannabis, raw or beneficiated, was explicitly excluded from the judgement.
3. The definition of “medicine” in both the Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Act 14 of 2015 and the Traditional Health Practitioners Act 22 of 2014 further excludes Cannabis from the possible pharmacopeia and legitimate practice of qualified Traditional Health Practitioners.
4. Traditional Health Practitioners and other qualified Natural Health Practitioners have been and still are excluded from authentically participating in the policy making decisions of S.A.H.P.R.A. and therefore have no authentic opportunity to input or act on regulatory policies and/or changes in the Law regarding any and all plant medicines, including Cannabis.
1. The plant Cannabis Sativa L. is listed on Schedule 7 of the schedules of the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act 101 of 1965. This section of the Act keeps every aspect of the Cannabis plant totally controlled, with severe penalties being applicable for any offence as it is treated the same as very dangerous drugs.
1.A. Schedule 7 of this Act states as a precursor: “All preparations or mixture of such substances containing or purporting to contain substances referred to in this Schedule include the following (unless expressly excluded or unless listed in another Schedule): (i) the isomers of such substances, where the existence of such isomers is possible within the chemical designation; (ii) the esters and ethers of such substances and of the isomers referred to in (i), as well as the isomers of such esters and ethers, where the existence of isomers of such esters, or ethers is possible; (iii) the salts of such substances and of the isomers referred to in (i), as well as the salts of the esters, ethers and isomers referred to in (ii), where the existence of such salts is possible; (iv) the isomers of any of the salts referred to in (iii), where the existence of such isomers is possible; (v) all preparations and mixtures of any of the above. (vi) all homologues of listed substances (being any chemically related substances that incorporate a structural fragment into their structures that is similar to the structure of a listed substance and/or exhibit pharmacodynamic properties similar to the listed substance in the schedules), unless listed separately in the Schedules.”
1.B. Cannabis is then listed specifically on Schedule 7 as follows: “Cannabis (dagga), the whole plant or any portion or product thereof, except: a. when separately specified in the Schedules; (S6) [i.e. Dronabinol ((-)-transdelta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), when intended for therapeutic purposes. (S7) Dronabinol is the International Non-Proprietary (pharmaceutical) name for isolated T.H.C. which is the most prolific, most medicinally effective cannabinoid found in Cannabis.
When using the correct empirically proven natural treatment protocols, T.H.C. is the component that has been scientifically identified to initiate four different actions that treat cancer extremely effectively, including causing tumoral cells to die off without affecting healthy cells. Unlike synthetic and isolated cannabinoids produced in a laboratory, and often erroneously referred to as “cannabis”, natural Cannabis extracts containing high concentrates of T.H.C. in combination with its 110 possible companion cannabinoids, have in the majority of reported cases worldwide, no dangerous negative side effects, and only one known serious contra-indication with pharmaceutical drugs.
These cannabinoids, as well as the terpenoids and flavonoids found in the trichomes of the mature Cannabis flower, all work synergistically with the human endo-cannabinoid system to produce the undeniable results that are now commonplace, despite the concerted global effort to sustain enforced prohibition.
b. processed hemp fibre containing 0.1 percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinol and products manufactured from such fibre, provided that the product does not contain whole cannabis seeds and is in a form not suitable for ingestion, smoking or inhaling purposes;”
These cannabinoids (found in trichomes on mature flowers) plus other beneficial essential fatty acids and amino acids (found in the seeds) and nutrients (leaves) can be accessed by:
eating cannabis in raw form (flowers, leaves, seeds and seed oils)
as teas and tisanes (flowers);
smoking (flowers - the oils evaporate and are carried in the smoke);
inhalation without smoke – (flowers - using modern vaporisers with atomisers)
through simple extraction techniques (flowers) in alcohol as tinctures or using carrier oils such as coconut oil and used topically, sub-lingually, rubbed on the gums, ingested as oils, and/or an almost infinite variety of edibles.
Each of these methods has different effects and outcomes and can be tailored to individual treatments according to health status, tolerance and preferences. This is due to the vast number of hybrid strains available (over 1400) each with a unique combination of medicinally active compounds.
A vast amount of empirical and scientific data is already documented and freely available, and the beneficial effects, and lack of negative side effects, are already well known to any Cannabis user. Used as part of a wholistic approach to supporting the body to heal itself, people have experienced remarkably quick results in a broad spectrum of diseases and disorders. This is where skilled practitioners who know the correct protocols for what is being treated are essential in maximising results, and where further research in specific protocols will be invaluable.
It also ensures continued guidance and support for clients, as healing from any serious disease or illness is a challenging process and lasting results invariably entail a permanent change in lifestyle.
1.C. Section 22A(1) of the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act 101 of 1965 specifically forbids the sale, possession, beneficiation, acquisition, and/or use of Cannabis Sativa L. in any form, except under prescribed circumstances. Section 22A states: “(1) Subject to this section, no person shall sell, have in his or her possession or manufacture any medicine or Scheduled substance, except in accordance with the prescribed conditions.”
In the case of Cannabis (Schedule 7) those prescribed conditions being: “22A(8) Subject to subsection (9), a Schedule 7 substance shall not be acquired by any person other than the Director-General for the purpose of providing a medical practitioner therewith, on the prescribed conditions, for the treatment of a particular patient of that medical practitioner upon such conditions as the Director-General, on the recommendation of the council, may determine.
22A(9) (a) No person shall- (i) acquire, use, possess, manufacture, or supply any Schedule 7 substance, or manufacture any Schedule 6 substance unless he or she has been issued with a permit by the Director-General for such acquisition, use, possession, manufacture, or supply: Provided that the Director-General may, subject to such conditions as he or she may determine, acquire or authorise the use of any Schedule 7 substance in order to provide a medical practitioner, analyst, researcher or veterinarian therewith on the prescribed conditions for the treatment or prevention of a medical condition in a particular patient, or for the purposes of education, analysis or research;”
Hence a Section 21 Application (to use untested medicine) via S.A.H.P.R.A. is still required even from an eligible registered medical practitioner for each patient that he/she wishes to treat. This prescribed condition “medical practitioner” is also obviously meant to implicitly apply to education, analysis, research and veterinary as well, and will surely be interpreted as such in any court of Law, even though the last part of the sentence is very slightly ambiguous.
1.D. Traditional Medicine Practitioners are not, in any event, considered “medical practitioners” eligible for consideration with regard to Cannabis under current law. Section 1(1) of the Medicines and Related Substances Act states in its definitions: “medical practitioner' means a person registered as such under the Health Professions Act, 1974, and includes an intern registered under that Act” and The Traditional Health Practitioners Act specifically excludes anyone registered under the Health Professions Act in its definitions:
“traditional health practice" means the performance of a function, activity, process or service based on a traditional philosophy that includes the utilisation of traditional medicine or traditional practice and which has as its object— (a) the maintenance or restoration of physical or mental health or function; or (b) the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of a physical or mental illness; or (c) the rehabilitation of a person to enable that person to resume normal functioning within the family or community; or (d) the physical or mental preparation of an individual for puberty, adulthood, pregnancy, childbirth and death, [and here is the punch line] but excludes the professional activities of a person practising any of the professions contemplated in the Pharmacy Act, 1974 (Act No. 53 of 1974), the Health Professions Act, 1974 (Act No. 56 of 1974), the Nursing Act, 1974 (Act No. 50 of 1974), the Allied Health Professions Act, 1982 (Act No. 63 of 1982), or the Dental Technicians Act, 1979 (Act No. 19 of 1979), and any other activity not based on traditional philosophy;
This means Traditional Medicine Practitioners have been excluded not only from making safe, natural Cannabis extracts, remedies and medicines and from treating people successfully for a vast range of conditions and diseases with Cannabis in its raw form or with natural extracts, it also excludes them from participating in education, analysis and research, including veterinary.
1.E. To be considered legitimate, Traditional Health Practitioners have to be registered with the Interim Traditional Health Practitioners Council established by the Act for regulatory purposes.
Under this Act: "traditional health practitioner" means a person registered under this Act [Traditional Health Practitioners Act 22 of 2014] in one or more of the categories of traditional health practitioners, listed as: "diviner" means a person who engages in traditional health practice and is registered as diviner under this Act; "herbalist" means a person who engages in traditional health practice and is registered a herbalist under this Act "traditional birth attendant" means a person who engages in traditional health practice and is registered as a traditional birth attendant under this Act "traditional surgeon" means a person registered as a traditional surgeon under this Act; "traditional tutor" means a person registered under any of the prescribed categories of traditional health practice who has been accredited by the Council to teach traditional health practice or any aspect thereof;
All of the above categories of practitioner and their clients stand to benefit tremendously from specific further education and development in the use of natural Cannabis and its extracts in the context of their practice. S.A.C.C.R.A. has identified different levels of treatment and beneficiation in the same way as there are “over the counter” medicines and prescribed medicines. The same principle is applied to Cannabis extracts with the S.A.C.C.R.A. “red-amber-green” treatment protocol in a more natural way.
According to the definitions of the Act: "register" means a register contemplated in section 19(1)(c) 19. (1) The registrar—(a) is the secretary and accounting officer of the Council; [who] (c) must keep registers—(i) in which he or she enters the names of traditional health practitioners and students;The registrar is obligated to: (g) cause copies of the registers or of supplementary lists containing amendments to the relevant registers, to be printed and published.
For all intents and purposes, such a register seems to not exist and if it does, it is certainly not easy for a member of the public to find. This is one of the ways in which Cannapax and other corrupt organisations can get away with operating openly, selling poor quality products through unqualified people. This is despite the fact that they are blatantly contravening the Law and exploiting the Traditional Health Practitioners Act to do so for personal gain.
It is essential for the credibility of this Act and for Traditional Health Practitioners everywhere to attend to this, rather than try and capitalise on it.
2. In 2018, the Constitutional Court was not presented cause to consider Traditional Health Practitioners by the Plaintiff, and therefore did not consider them in its 2018 judgement. All other arguments and evidence presented on the unconstitutionality of prohibiting the benefits of Cannabis presented by other plaintiffs had already been summarily dismissed at the Western Cape High Court hearing and only the right to privacy was therefore considered.
“Sections 4(b) and 5(b) of [the] Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act 140 of 1992 read with Part III of Schedule 2 of that Act and Section 22A(9)(a)(1) of the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act 101 of 1965 [are] inconsistent with section 14 [of Chapter 2] of the Constitution to the extent that they criminalise the use or possession in private or cultivation in a private place of cannabis by an adult for his or her own personal consumption in private.”
The sale of Cannabis and by default the purchase of Cannabis, raw or beneficiated, was explicitly excluded from the judgement.
3. The definition of “medicine” in both the Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Act 14 of 2015 and the Traditional Health Practitioners Act 22 of 2014 further exclude any and all forms of Cannabis or Cannabis extracts from the possible pharmacopeia and legitimate practice of qualified Traditional Health Practitioners.
3.A. Under the Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Act 14 of 2015 the definition is: ‘‘ ‘medicine’— (a) means any substance or mixture of substances used or purporting to be suitable for use or manufactured or sold for use in — (i) the diagnosis, treatment, mitigation, modification or prevention of disease, abnormal physical or mental state or the symptoms thereof in humans; or (ii) restoring, correcting or modifying any somatic or psychic or organic function in humans; and (b) includes any veterinary medicine;’’;
Therefore, all medicines, traditional and otherwise, and in fact all substances, fall under the control of S.A.H.P.R.A. and as such must meet prescribed standards formulated by the S.A.H.P.R.A. Board i.e. they must meet the stringent criteria appropriate for synthetic pharmaceutical medicine.
Raw cannabis and its correctly beneficiated natural extracts, however, are truly sui generis and self-regulating in nature and:
have been proven empirically by uncountable lay-people and healers;
are backed by reliable and respectable western medical science;
proven in experience, practice and the lab to be extremely safe and effective;
have very few, and certainly no life threatening, dangerous or damaging side effects, unlike synthetic medicines which have long lists of dangerous side effects;
few known contra-indications with pharmaceutical drugs.
They are also, with a little training and simple regulatory protocols, easy and safe to beneficiate in the most informal of settings, producing astonishing results that baffle medical practitioners who haven’t read the science.
Thus, Cannabis and its correctly beneficiated natural extracts simply cannot authentically be regulated by the same standards that are applied to pharmaceutical drugs. (Ref Dr. Lester Grinspoon Associate Professor of Psychiatry Harvard University who has studied the plant for decades).
3.B. Nevertheless, the definition of medicine in the Traditional Health Practitioners Act, makes it even more clear that Cannabis is as illegal for Traditional Health Practitioners as it is for everyone else:
"traditional medicine" means an object or substance used in traditional health practice for — (a) the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of a physical or mental illness; or (b) any curative or therapeutic purpose, including the maintenance or restoration of physical or mental health or well-being in human beings, but does not include a dependence-producing or dangerous substance or drug;
This categorically excludes Cannabis from the realm of Traditional (and other Natural Health Practitioners) since it is listed in Schedule 7 and is considered an undesirable dependence producing substance which is totally prohibited.
UNDESIRABLE BY WHOM?
This is the burning question since the benefits of the plant are now well known to the general populace and it has become the most sought after natural remedy, and all who seek its benefits are willing to break the law to access it. The scheduling of Cannabis and now its “legalisation” globally is, and always has been, based on vested interest - ref. the worldwide patent on cannabinoids as neuroprotectants and antioxidants granted to the U.S. Dept. of Health in 2003, and the worldwide license granted to G.W. Pharmaceuticals.
The “fear” of Cannabis having been originally established in public awareness, initially in America, through an intense and racist propaganda campaign introduced by Harry Ansliger in the 1930’s, lead to a demand from the public to control the plant. Such stigma and propaganda have been sustained ever since, and even disseminated through our highest educational institutions, despite copious, comprehensive and reliable evidence having been presented to the contrary. This stigma is only recently starting to really shift in accordance with new evidence of what is actually true about the plant being presented and due to the consistent results illegally obtained in the field, so to speak.
The classification of the Cannabis plant as an undesirable dependence producing “substance” is not even slightly true and can be disproven with a plethora of testimony, medical research and physical results. Cannabis is a safe, effective and highly beneficial plant (not “substance” or “drug”) that, when used raw or extracted naturally, has an unprecedented range of healing applications for humans and animals, and which can be safely and effectively beneficiated in an informal setting.
3.C. The S.A.H.P.R.A. Act made no room for the representation of Traditional and other Natural Health Practitioners in the formulation of their Board, which has domain over everything i.e. ALL substances that affect human and animal health, and therefore no say in the making and upholding of decisions directly affecting Natural and Traditional Health Practitioners and practices.
The current regulations for Cannabis cultivation and beneficiation imposed by S.A.H.P.R.A. while it was still the M.C.C. are excessively restrictive because, and only because, Cannabis is listed on Schedule 7. Consequently, the financial requirements for compliance with the S.A.H.P.R.A. “regulations” are well beyond the means of 99.9% of the population who actually can do the same thing, or better, with literally no capital, basic equipment, and a combination of traditional and modern knowledge.
For over a hundred years ordinary people, the majority of whom are African, have been persecuted, prosecuted, denigrated, stigmatised, criminalised, compromised, institutionalised, and even sprayed directly with poisonous chemicals, by our “justice” and law enforcement systems for growing, using and selling a simple flower that makes a person happy.
Now, hugely expensive “licenses” and/or “permits” to grow Cannabis for “medical research” have been issued by S.A.H.P.R.A. mainly to well-off, mostly Caucasian, businessmen, who have foreign corporate backing, or dedicated export agreements with foreign corporate bodies, to grow that same simple flower and earn projected millions from it. This “licensing” process is legally questionable and is most certainly unconstitutional since there is zero equality under the law in this policy. In the off-the-record words of Advocate Kemp, the “stoners” were “thrown a bone” with the 2018 Constitutional Court ruling, whilst Traditional and other Natural Health Practitioners, not to mention the Cannabis Medicine Practitioners and their clients that have facilitated astounding results, remain completely ignored and legally excluded.
This is while S.A.H.P.R.A. openly intends to use income from the licenses to fund their operation. An operation which is popularly known to be unable to cope with its original mandate, never mind its expanded one.
As long as Cannabis is erroneously listed on Schedule 7, no-one except the D.G. under specific circumstances i.e. on behalf of a medical practitioner for a specific patient, may cultivate, possess, or use Cannabis except for their own personal use in private, and most explicitly, no-one may sell Cannabis. None of this has changed.
3.D. Traditional and other Natural Health or Cannabis Treatment Practitioners, and their clients, have thus also been excluded from participating in both private practice and the possibility of the establishment of Natural Wellness Treatment Centres and in-patient clinics for which an effective model exists.
"health services" includes inpatient or outpatient treatment, diagnostic or therapeutic interventions, nursing and rehabilitative, palliative, convalescent and preventative health services
"health establishment" means any public or private institution, facility, agency, building or place or part thereof, whether organised for profit or not, that is operated or designed to provide health services;
3.E. Traditional Health Practitioners are excluded from specialising in Cannabis Medicine and Treatment, the most sought after and effective treatment with the widest variety of applications known to us at this point in time. The demand will only increase.
"speciality", in relation to any of the categories, includes any particular sphere of extensive knowledge and skill in which a traditional health practitioner specialises
Authentic Cannabis growers, beneficiators and practitioners, including Traditional Health Practitioners, are still constantly being arrested, charged and/or threatened, wasting ridiculous amounts of taxpayers’ money, and clogging the overburdened justice system. Few cases result in an actual hearing, and even less a sentence. These arrests are often unlawfully executed, so also place the justice system and law enforcement at risk of prosecution in both civil and criminal court.
Instead, the illegal market is swarming with inferior products made and sold by untrained, uniformed and/or greedy individuals out to make a quick fortune, such as the totally illegal publicly operating Cannapax model, which is outright fraudulent, and many others, a lot of whom are paying bribes to corrupt law enforcement officers to stay out of jail. I was told about two years ago by one of these dealers that the asking price from the Hawks was R80/ml of full extract Cannabis oil.
4. Traditional Health Practitioners and other qualified Natural Health Practitioners have been and still are excluded from authentically participating in the policy making decisions of S.A.H.P.R.A. and therefore have no authentic opportunity to provide input on regulatory policies and/or changes in the Law regarding any and all plant medicines, including Cannabis.
4.A. Can S.A.H.P.R.A. even do the job? There is public consensus in many quarters that S.A.H.P.R.A. is truly not up to the task of regulating everything, and there is concern over its status as ‘‘an organ of state within the public administration but outside the public service.’’;
Under what specific sections of the law is S.A.H.P.R.A. authorised to issue licenses for Cannabis cultivation and beneficiation or is this policy simply a way to skirt it?
Are the licenses and/or permits that have been issued actually even truly legal under current law? Are they in the public interest? They are certainly not constitutional.
‘‘Objects of Authority 2A. The objects of the Authority are to provide for the monitoring, evaluation, regulation, investigation, inspection, registration and control of medicines, Scheduled substances, clinical trials and medical devices, IVDs and related matters in the public interest. If the new licensees and/or permit holders are indeed all subject to the rigorous controls laid out by the former M.C.C. which is surely the case, can S.A.H.P.R.A. even do the job of monitoring and regulating these permit holders, since they cannot even cope with regulating pharmaceuticals and now other natural remedies?
4.B. Further, from what has been said at forums and in position statements from authorities such as the C.D.A. and M.R.C. and others, especially the S.A.P.S., whilst they may be experts in their fields and very educated, they don’t seem to know much about the Cannabis plant, nor the substances extracted from it, that they are supposed to be regulating.
2) The Authority may — (a) liaise with any other regulatory authority or institution and may, without limiting the generality of this power, require the necessary information from, exchange information with and receive information from any such authority or institution in respect of — (i) matters of common interest; or (ii) a specific investigation; and (b) enter into agreements to co-operate with any regulatory authority in order to achieve the objects of this Act.
Over the past few years the consultative forums and conferences regarding Cannabis have been uninformed, bloated with vested interest groups and rife with personal agendas. This is most definitely not in the best interests of the public.
4.C. To date, in our experience, the various Parliamentary Portfolio Committees and government Departments, guided by the policies established by the M.C.C., and S.A.H.P.R.A. itself, have all resolutely refused to consider alternate solutions such as the one S.A.C.C.R.A. proposes i.e. self-regulation at community level via quality and safety standards achieved by effectively training and educating qualified Traditional and Natural Health Practitioners further as specialised Cannabis Treatment Practitioners, as a core around which further skills development in other community members can occur.
These include growing Cannabis in sustainable food gardens, trimming, curing, secondary and tertiary level extraction, food production and beyond into new, clean, green Cannabis based industries. Two such training modules have already been developed, one agricultural and one based on natural self-treatment Cannabis protocols (for personal use in private), and have been well received by laypeople and medical professionals alike.
This can easily form the groundwork for the development of further modules and curricula. Except for the fact that Cannabis is on schedule 7. By retaining the Cannabis plant on the schedules at all, the S.A.H.P.R.A. Council members show that:
a) they are very clearly misinformed about this plant despite the fifty plus years worth of research available; or
b) if they are not misinformed, then they are knowingly acting in a criminal manner, and therefore cannot be trusted to fulfill their mandate with regard to Cannabis in particular, and to other natural medicines as a whole;
c) by continuing to perpetuate the prohibition of Cannabis for the vast majority they are in effect defrauding the South African public; as well as
d) they are the direct cause of untold medical suffering, which is now starting to look like it is amounting to genocide, with cancer rates up to unprecedented levels despite their approved and “well regulated” toxic medicines such as chemotherapy, when a viable tested safe alternative exists.
The Department of Health is accountable to the people of South Africa. This includes especially the majority of people who cannot afford allopathic western medicine and who also have the constitutionally protected right under Chapter 2, the Bill of Rights, to individual medical sovereignty.
This gives each and every one of us the right to choose whether to engage empiric medicine, such as is practised by Traditional Health Practitioners and other natural healers, over allopathic medicine, or both.
This includes raw Cannabis and natural Cannabis extracts.
Bill of Rights, Chapter 2 of the Constitution.
Apart from the most obvious non-derogable rights to Life and Dignity, the following rights are contravened by the prohibition of Cannabis specifically in terms of Traditional and Natural Health Practitioners and their clients:
27. Health care, food, water and social security.
27. (1) Everyone has the right to have access to— (a) health care services
12. Freedom and security of the person
12. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom and security of the person, which includes the right— (a) not to be deprived of freedom arbitrarily or without just cause; (c) to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources; (e) not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way
12. (2) Everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right— (b) to security in and control over their body;
9. Equality 9. (1) Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law. 9. (3) The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including social origin, religion, conscience, belief, culture, birth.
5. POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS
The Dept. of Health is responsible for S.A.H.P.R.A. and there seem now to be only two viable options, evolution or extinction, so to speak:
5.A. The Extinction Option Dissolution of the Board
"2I. (1) The Minister may dissolve the Board if the Minister, on good cause shown, loses confidence in the ability of the Board to perform its functions effectively and efficiently. (2) The Minister may dissolve the Board only—(a) after having given the Board a reasonable opportunity to be heard; and(b) after having afforded the Board a hearing on any submissions received.(3) If the Minister dissolves the Board, the Minister—(a) may appoint an administrator to take over the functions of the Board and to do anything which the Board might otherwise be empowered or required to do by or under this Act, subject to such conditions as the Minister may determine; and(b) must, as soon as it is feasible but not later than three months after the dissolution of the Board, replace the members of the Board in the same manner in which they were appointed. (4) The costs associated with the appointment of an administrator shall be for the account of the Authority. (5) The appointment of the administrator terminates when the Board members have been replaced in terms of section 2C(2).’’.
This is clearly not viable except in the case of absolute breakdown, which it seems we are fast approaching, and is also not in the best interest of the public as pharmaceutical medicines definitely and obviously need strict regulation. This process would also be costly in terms of time, and the urgency to make safe alternatives available via Traditional and Natural Health grows constantly.
5.B. The Evolution Option. Ultimately, S.A.H.P.R.A. can be returned to its authentic original mandate by amending one word in the definition of medicine in the Medicines Act i.e. to add the word, “pharmaceutical” before the word “substances”.
The responsibility of regulating Traditional and other Natural Medicines can then be delegated to the appropriate bodies as a function of policy. Hence, Traditional Medicines and Practices can be regulated by Traditional Health Practitioners, who are more qualified to do so, via their Council, and other Natural Medicines and Practice can be regulated by the other Natural Medicine Practitioners via their Council, in collaboration with S.A.C.C.R.A. when it comes to Cannabis.
In this way the load is spread between agencies and will be hugely more effective than prohibition in the long term.
Clearly, the laws that govern the prohibition of Cannabis Sativa L. have failed absolutely and completely since everyone active in the Cannabis domain, including the regulators and law enforcers, is breaking them and will not cease to do so.
Once the science of the plant and the human endo-cannabinoid system are clear it is an easy deduction to see that this is an obviously unjust law. The only choice people have to receive the benefits of the plant is to change the law or break it. Changing the law in a manner that benefits all is literally almost impossible for the layperson/laypeople due to the prohibitive legal costs involved. Breaking the law has been their only remaining option. This includes Traditional and Natural Health Practitioners.
At the heart of it all, there is absolutely no change required to current law to solve this problem. It is a simple policy decision to remove the plant from the schedules of the Medicines and Related Substances Act 101 of 1965, and consequently the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act 140 of 1992, in the best interest of the public.
Allowance is made in International Law for this decision to be made in good faith by the government (Ch 2 UNSCND). Recently, the American Bar Association passed a resolution (104) to end the Federal prohibition of Cannabis and re-schedule or de-schedule it. This is an important precedent in International Law.
Cannabis in its raw form is self-regulating and there are potential benefits to allowing it to be so, not the least of which is that it will give people who use Cannabis the option of buying from reputable people rather than unscrupulous dealers. Also, it will level the playing field for rural growers who have been persecuted for a very long time, and who are badly exploited by “dealers”. Undoubtedly releasing Cannabis in its raw form from regulation will cause a drop in the street value of the flowers which will negatively affect drug dealers who have exploited its benefits for a long time.
Anyone using Cannabis in an irresponsible manner by: mixing it with toxic or dangerous substances; distributing extracts made with toxic solvents or of inferior quality; or by supplying Cannabis to children, except under the care of a relevantly qualified and certified Cannabis Medicine Practitioner (red protocol), whether that be a medical practitioner or a natural medicine practitioner; which are really the only ways to do so, can be charged and prosecuted successfully under many other laws such as reckless endangerment, according to the particular circumstances or offense.
5.A. The most obvious way we see to achieve the “crossover” to this de-scheduled status in the most equitable, responsible and accountable manner is, in the interim and for a limited period, under appropriately described conditions, to:
i) transfer the authority to regulate naturally extracted Cannabis medicines to the appropriate Councils i.e. the Interim Traditional Health Practitioners Council of South Africa and the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa in collaboration with credible bodies such as the T.H.O. and the S.A.C.C.R.A. Executive Council, and to leave S.A.H.P.R.A. to regulate pharmaceutical Cannabis products.
ii) to validate this proposed de-scheduling, grant an immediate, comprehensive temporary immunity from prosecution for research and development purposes to: S.A.C.C.R.A. members acting in collaboration with the T.H.O. and not excluding other appropriate possible member partners such as Integrative Medical Practitioners and other Natural Health Practitioners identified by S.A.C.C.R.A.as well as competent and effective Cannabis Treatment Practitioners identified by S.A.C.C.R.A. thus making this training and research accountable to the Dept. of Health through the I.T.H.P.C.S.A. and the A.H.P.C.S.A.
This immunity to cover: The immediate trial implementation of the S.A.C.C.R.A. social development model which uses Cannabis as a sustainability key for community empowerment and development at grass roots level: - in at least five communities where a basis for such implementation already exists; which immunity includes the ability of Traditional Medicine Practitioners and other Natural Healers in these communities who are trained and qualified in the S.A.C.C.R.A. protocols, to legitimately sell natural Cannabis extracts and practice natural Cannabis treatments according to the established S.A.C.C.R.A. regulatory agreements, in order to fund the roll out of further training; and which immunity is empowered to extend the activities to agricultural, industrial and ecological applications via micro-industries at community level;
iii) The intention of these trial centres being to establish and/or substantiate that naturally grown Cannabis and natural Cannabis extracts:
do not need to be treated as pharmaceutical medicine under current S.A.H.P.R.A. regulation policy;
that its multiple benefits extend beyond medicinal applications;
to verify whether it is actually justifiable to remove the plant from the schedules permanently; and
whether it can indeed be effectively self-regulated at community level.
iv) Immediately begin the roll out of existing, and the further development of more advanced, specialist training in the practice of natural Cannabis growing, extraction and treatment to, and via:
qualified Traditional Health Practitioners registered with and identified by, and therefore accountable to, the T.H.O. and
other competent Cannabis Treatment Practitioners and Producers (Primary, Secondary or Tertiary) identified and trained by S.A.C.C.R.A.
v) To assist in the updating of the register of Traditional Health Practitioners as and when possible via the roll out of the training and establish a register of accredited Cannabis Health Practitioners.
vi) To award justifiable funding for the T.H.O. and S.A.C.C.R.A. to initiate and implement the initial training and development of key individuals to empower them to participate in sustainable Cannabis Treatment practices and protocols, and ultimately therefore to be able to pass on the knowledge and skills acquired.
vii) To participate in conducting further research by documenting what works with over 700 treatable diseases and disorders and thus contribute to and participate in the development of sustainable and certifiable curricula.
1. In this Act, unless the context indicates otherwise—"accredited institution" means an institution, approved by the Council, which certifies that a person or body has the required capacity to perform the functions within the sphere of the National Quality Framework contemplated in the South African Qualifications Authority Act, 1995 (Act No. 58 of 1995);
CONCLUSION The opportunity exists now to make a really effective difference in a reasonably short period of time. It takes less than a week to ensure that a person has a solid foundation in Cannabis Green Protocol Treatment, both in knowledge and practice.
The applications taught are safe, pleasant to use and really effective – pain relief is experienced within minutes when used topically - so their efficacy is quickly verifiable. Because the spectrum of possible applications for this particular plant are so broad, a cycle of training and practice over a prolonged period will work best, so that skills can be practiced, and results experienced in between training and mentor sessions.
This quickly builds confidence in the extracts for both practitioners and clients and will also allow for a continuous cycle of training through each area in turn, so that the practitioners develop concurrently and can collaborate and co-operate to deepen as they grow more experienced together. The idea is to train the trainers first in order to facilitate the roll-out of this infinitely valuable knowledge and experience in as fast and effective a manner as possible, whilst always ensuring the integrity of Natural Cannabis as a whole.
As much as is already known about Cannabis treatment, we are still at the beginning of exploring and documenting the vast potential of this field of natural medicine as it is evolving all the time. The same applies to all the new clean, green industries and spin-off industries that are as much a part of Cannabis as the medicine is. All of the above statements and suggestions made regarding Cannabis are backed by copious sound evidence which is available through the S.A.C.C.R.A. Executive Council. www.saccra.org.za provides plenty of information about the plant and the plan. Full details including regulatory agreements are described in the S.A.C.C.R.A. Members Manual.