Originally published in Yahoo News
The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) supports the Medical Innovation Bill which, if passed, will allow for the use of marijuana for medical reasons in the country, said the party’s Cheryllyn Dudley on Thursday.
“The ACDP agrees in principle with legislation making provision for innovation, keeping in mind that the National Health Act speaks to this in detail and will need to be carefully considered,” she said.
Dudley attended a briefing on the Bill on Wednesday. It was re-introduced to Parliament by Inkatha Freedom Party MP Narend Singh last week.
She said the drug morphine, currently used for pain control in terminally ill cancer patients, is toxic and lethal. She said it speeds up the death of the patients.
But she emphasised that the ACDP is against the use of marijuana for recreational use: “The ACDP does not and will not endorse recreational use of cannabis or any attempts to move in this direction,” said Dudley.
“What is controversial and unlikely to be entertained by our ACDP constituency and the broader South African society is the goal of ‘commercialisation of cannabis’.”
In February, IFP MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini made a plea to President Jacob Zuma to table a bill allowing for the use of medical marijuana. The bill lapsed when Oriani-Ambrosini passed away after a long battle with lung cancer last month.
According to the rules of the National Assembly, a bill lapses when the MP who originally proposed it ceases to be a member of parliament or dies.
On 10 September, governing ANC chief whip Stone Sizani tabled a motion in the National Assembly to have the Bill processed again by parliament. This was supported by all parties.
The proposed legislation will be subject to the public and scientific scrutiny and input in the form of public submissions and hearings.