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CBD statute revised in South Africa

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The process of legalizing medical cannabis and CBD products is advancing around the world, and the most recent country to undertake a review of CBD status was South Africa.

Last year, reported the decriminalization of cannabis for personal and private use, having been very well received by the population. However, there are still some doubts about the legal nuances surrounding cannabidiol (CBD). In a lawsuit brought by South African lawmakers, the CBD statute was revised. Although the changes will only come into effect in 2020, low-cannabinoid preparations are, for now, excluded from any category of prescription drugs.

The new regulation was published in the Gazeta do Governo — an official publication similar to the Diário da República — where the Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi, divides the products according to their CBD content. Low CBD products may only refer to health maintenance, general health improvement without any reference to specific ailments, or alleviation of minor symptoms unrelated to a disease or disorder.

According to an update provided by the Department of Health in May, the legal framework around CBD was clarified: “In the next 12 months, 'preparations' containing CBD will be completely outside of South Africa's controlled substance regulation system. South". This scheme comes with two conditions:

  • The maximum daily dose of CBD should be 20 milligrams or less
  • The product cannot claim to cure or treat any specific medical condition. It may only advertise “general health improvement”, or “maintenance of health”, or promise “relief of minor symptoms”, as long as those symptoms are not linked to a disease or disorder.

Removed from Controlled Substance Classification System

The decision to remove CBD from the country's list of controlled substances is particularly welcome news for companies operating in the sector and for the growing number of people consuming these products. In the past, CBD had been lumped together with drugs like heroin and, as a consequence, was not readily available.

However, after moving to Category 4 in the Controlled Substances table, CBD can now also be made available to people on prescription. Due to this particular change, South Africa became the first country in Africa to have effectively legalized CBD, after having decriminalized cannabis for personal and private use.

Southern Sun Pharma Inc, which is involved in the cannabis industry in the country, stated through Warren Schewiz, the company’s CEO: “As a pioneer in the African cannabis sector, Southern Sun Pharma has been preparing for breakthroughs such as these. some time ago". The CEO of Materia Ventures, also told MJBiz Daily that “The South African market will be great for these products (with CBD)”.

Click to read the full text published by the Minister of Health of South Africa.

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