INKATHA Freedom Party (IFP) wants Parliament's health committee to scrap the Medical Innovation Bill's proposals to legalise the commercial use of marijuana and focus the bill solely on its medical applications, it has emerged. It is a private member's bill, and was the brainchild of late IFP MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini, who died of cancer last year. It proposes legalising dagga for medical, commercial and industrial purposes, and says that a medical practitioner working at a pilot health centre should be allowed to administer unproven treatments without fear of litigation. IFP MP Narend Singh said on Wednesday the bill should focus solely on the medical use of marijuana. The committee's next task would be to determine if the current legislative environment adequately supported medical research on the plant, he said. Mr Singh's position was broadly in line with that of the Central Drug Authority (CDA), which told the committee that, given SA's difficulties in controlling alcohol, it was premature to consider legalising marijuana for commercial and recreational purposes. This decision is indeed a noteworthy one.
The Medicines Control Council further argues that dagga has plenty of adverse side effects, and that there are better medicines for various conditions currently on the market. This raises the question of why it is mainly dagga users who are pushing for commercial legalization. Could it be that they (dagga users) aim to legally sell dagga to pharmaceutical companies and our youth, by being allowed to run dagga farming enterprises legally?