South African hemp stakeholders are expressing dismay as a proposed amendment to existing laws governing narcotics has designated CBD prescription-only, a move that would hand over the sector to Big Pharma, critics have said.
The SA Ministry of Health is proposing the restrictive designation based on a recommendation from the country’s Medicines Control Council (MCC). Technically, the amendment labels CBD, when intended for therapeutic purposes, an S4-Category drug – requiring a doctor’s prescription. Furthermore, CBD when intended for any use other than as medicine was put in the strictest S7 drug category.
Stakeholders in SA have for years advocated that CBD – previously uncategorized – be left off federal narcotics lists, and furthermore for the hemp crop itself to be treated as any other agricultural commodity.
The new draft amendment indicates an unwillingness to make those changes, and ignored a proposal from the Self-Medication Manufacturers Association of South Africa (SMASA), which represents companies that make and sell over-the-counter healthcare products and tries to work closely with the MCC. SMASA had proposed CBD under 20mg per day be delegated as a normal OTC health supplement instead of a medicine.