Exactly one year and one week after the CBD exemption was first granted by the Minister of Health, new regulations were Gazetted around CBD and Cannabis.
08 – 06 – 20
The Gazette can be found here.
Before you read on, take advantage of 15% off your next order of CBD products from our online store, by using coupon code “CBD15” at checkout. Valid until the end of June 2020.
The regulator, South African Health Products Regulatory Authority, released the following communication explaining the new Scheduling.
Firstly, let’s celebrate the WIN. For the first time, Cannabis as a plant has been removed from Schedule 7 where it has long languished in the same cramped holding cell as substances as toxic as Fentanyl and Heroin.
Cannabis has been removed from Schedule 7 as a whole which is great news which should be celebrated, although we know it should never have been put there in the first place. If you want to read some harrowing history on how the Apartheid government put it here while excluding Dronabinol, a THC extract they were extracting from SA Cannabis and exporting at huge profits while arresting thousands of citizens who wished to use the plant, you can do so here. We take no responsibility if this makes your blood boil…
Where exactly the plant sits now remains to be seen, but we are hoping it moves to Agriculture, where it belongs.
The one place it does still sit that needs to be changed as ruled by the Constitutional Court is in the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act which still states “Cannabis, the whole plant, any product or portion thereof (except Dronabinol- see above)…is an undesirable dependence producing substance” along with Heroin, Methamphetamine, LSD etc. This act read in isolation means every hemp product is still illegal and Cannabis must be removed from it in order for the industry to grow and for law enforcement abuses to end.
However, the Department of Justice is already saying they may miss the September deadline using Covid19 as an excuse, which does not account for the previous 17 months since ConCourt ruled. We are hoping the DOJ managed to meet the deadline that ConCourt will hold them too, as another missed planting season will be a huge disappointment to the farmers and industry who are ready to go and grow.
The Traditional & Natural Health Alliance have released a good summary of what you “need to know” about the new CBD schedules here.
Basically, CBD sold with medical claims is now a Schedule 4 product requiring a prescription.
Products that are sold as health supplements or complementary medicines that have less than 600mg per package and less than 20mg per dose are now Schedule 0 products.
Schedule 0 requires product registration, needs to be produced/imported/distributed under Good Manufacturing Practice conditions but can be retailed anywhere.
This will mean we see many of the smaller CBD players unable to meet these regulations and some products disappear from shelves, and the remaining products may have to change their packaging and product sizes to become compliant. We will also more than likely see an increase in prices as the cost of producing to GMP certification is high.
What would help remedy this is if we are finally able to grow hemp commercially and legally in South Africa and the removal of the plant from schedule 7, especially the varieties that are under 0.2% THC, does open that door, but the new regulations under the Department of Agriculture still need to be promulgated. We are hoping this happens well before planting season in September this year. The 0.2% THC level also needs to be challenged as it is one of the most stringent in the world with EU touted to be moving back to 0.3%, USA is at 0.3%, Malawi and Switzerland at 1%.
We will struggle to find varieties that will consistently stay under 0.2% and this could be a big challenge for South African farmers.
But, it is progress, and we are getting closer to being able to grow the South African Cannabis/hemp industry sustainably with locally grown and manufactured products.
In the meantime, Hemporium will continue to supply the safest, best quality, most compliant CBD products we can find or produce.
We know there is still work to be done but there has never been a time more necessary for this plant to step in and provide sustainable resources and healing in our Post-COVID reality.