IFP: Ambrosini's dying wishes have been achieved

The Medical Innovation Bill tabled by Dr Mario Ambrosini early in 2014 will not enter the statute book but the IFP says new guidelines being developed will meet the aims of the bill.

FILE: Late Inkatha Freedom Party Member of Parliament Mario Oriani-Ambrosini. Picture: Facebook.

CAPE TOWN - The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) says that the dying wishes of its late Member of Parliament, Dr Mario Ambrosini, to have the use of cannabis legalised for medicinal and research purposes, have been achieved.

The Medical Innovation Bill, tabled by Ambrosini early in 2014, just months before he ended his life after a lengthy battle with cancer will not enter the statute book.

But IFP chief whip Narend Singh says that’s because new guidelines being developed by the Department of Health and the Medicines Control Council will meet the aims of the bill.

Singh says Ambrosini’s bill was the catalyst for making it easier for people to access cannabis products for medical purposes.

“There’s no need for this kind of legislation to be taken forward in view of the fact that current legislation, accompanied by the regulations that have now been gazetted, will allow for all the objectives that we had in the private member’s bill to be met.”

While cannabis or dagga, remains a controlled substance, its value as an alternative therapy is increasingly being recognised.

Doctors can apply to the Medicines Control Council to prescribe cannabis products for their patients.

Working with the Department of Health, the council is also developing a legal framework to govern the cultivation of cannabis in South Africa for medicinal and research purposes.