AS government calls for radical economic transformation, the Amantlane Traditional Council in the Eastern Cape says the legalisation of Marijuana (Cannabis) can play a meaningful role in financially uplifting rural communities.
Prince Phumezile Dinwayo has called on the government to de-schedule the herb and allow it to be used for medicinal purposes.
“In response to calls by the government for radical economic transformation, this potential industry’s cultivation and processing of the medicinal cannabis cultivar must be secured for rural communities and create vibrant business for local business. The rural communities have won many land claim battles,” said Dinwayo.
It is imperative that they are allowed to participate freely in the value chain of the Medicinal Cannabis since they will put their land to good economic use for the benefit and development of their areas and communities.”
The issue of legalising Marijuana was pushed to the forefront when Inkatha Freedom Party Member of Parliament Mario Oriani-Ambrosini asked the national assembly to look at the possibility.
He died of cancer shortly after making the proposal and President Jacob Zuma promised that government would be looking into the matter.
Dinwayo said his call should be headed as there are medical benefits associated with Marijuana as well economic opportunities for rural communities.
He said in recent years, a small but growing body of evidence has emerged suggesting that Marijuana may have medicinal value for some patients in conditions where other treatments have failed.
“Studies have shown positive effects on a variety of conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, diabetes mellitus, dystonia, fibromyalgia, incontinence, gastrointestinal disorders and various cancers. Other conditions that have reportedly been positively affected by cannabis
use include atopic dermatitis, brain injuries, eating disorders, epilepsy, glaucoma, Huntington’s disease, neuromuscular disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep disorders and Tourette’s syndrome,” he said.
Dinwayo added that in order to ensure availability of standardized quality-assured medicinal Marijuana grown locally, the government would need to control the cultivation, production, and manufacturing of products for medicinal use in the country.
He said that would represent an opportunity for rural communities to increase revenue received in the community, job creation, economic stability, growth of the Agricultural sector with the aim of providing income for mall communities rather than large-scale farmers and equipping the community with skills on successful farming.
He said they were currently worried by government’s scheduling status of the herb.
“Cannabis is currently put as a schedule 7 drug which has no medicinal value, classifying it as a schedule 6 status will also not be consistent with the herbal remedy qualities it has. It is important to note that there has never been any reported case of a fatality from an overdose on Cannabis. Effectively, Cannabis should be de-scheduled and
treated as a herbal medicine. The Law used to schedule it as a Schedule 7 and 6 drug is old and archaic. That Law was passed in the pre-democratic era. When one looks at what qualifies a medicine for those schedules then cannabis doesn’t fit the criteria,” he said.