Tag: International News

A Fight, A Win, and A Legacy in South Africa

On Feb. 19, 2014, Member of Parliament Mario Oriani-Ambrosini stood up in the South African National Assembly and passionately introduced a private member’s bill to decriminalize the medical use of cannabis.

Other than wanting to make this wonderful medicine available for his fellow citizens, Oriani-Ambrosini had a very personal reason as his incentive: A few months earlier, he had publicly announced his diagnosis of stage IV lung cancer.

Time went on, and while other countries of the world made cannabis reform a reality, Oriani-Ambrosini and his fellow members of the IFP party continued to work vehemently to allow South Africans the same relief.

On Aug. 16, 2014, Oriani-Ambrosini lost his battle with cancer, but the latest announcement from the African nation proves that his fight for medical cannabis was not in vain.

The South African Government has given the go-ahead for the manufacture and distribution of cannabis as medicine. Oriani-Ambrosini’s party, the IFP, is calling it a “major victory” and a fitting tribute to its former member who fought for legalization.

It was reported that South Africa’s Medical Control Council recently sent a letter to IFP Member of Parliament Narend Singh, stating that it would publish proposed guidelines on cannabis production in the coming weeks.

An elated Singh stated that “Mario had fought tirelessly for this, and although he proposed cannabis beyond medicinal use to also include it for recreational use, we agreed to withdraw every clause relating to non-medicinal use in our efforts to ensure it becomes legal.”

Singh also added that thousands of patients are already using cannabis oil, which is very expensive in the nation, and a major catalyst for the bill was to make it freely accessible for patients who need it.

Under the proposed new rules, doctors can apply to the Medical Control Council to obtain permission to access cannabis for their patients. The council will authorize the prescription and appropriate dosage based on its intended use.

As well, there will be licensed domestic cultivation of medicinal cannabis for prescription and research purposes.

As South Africa moves ahead with this important legislation, along with it comes an enduring legacy started by one forward-thinking Member of Parliament. Although MP Oriani-Ambrosini is not here to see this landmark for the country, he lives on in every patient who will soon be able to experience profound relief based on his tireless efforts.

Photo Courtesy of Allie Beckett

 

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The Dealer, The Pharmacist, and The Official – Costa Rica and Marijuana

For the last few weeks, Marijuana.com has been on location in Costa Rica. Other than getting some sun, surf, and great coffee, our travels were in an effort to examine the possibility of medical cannabis becoming a reality in this Central American paradise. We spoke with a street dealer, an illegal but very necessary cannabis […]

 

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Kenya Considers Full Decriminalization and Legal Medical Cannabis

Medical marijuana reform is quickly spreading to countries on every continent, and now, the wind of change has reached the Republic of Kenya.

The Kenyan Senate has been petitioned by Gwada Ogot, a writer and political analyst, to decriminalize marijuana for personal use and legalize it for medical and industrial purposes. The Senate has tasked the Committee on Health for the African nation to review and respond within 60 days.

If the petition is successful, cannabis, or Bhang as it is called in Kenya, will be removed from the List of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1994. Further to the proposed rescheduling, the petition asks that anyone currently serving jail terms for offenses related to marijuana be set free.

The proposal also suggests that a Cannabis Sativa Board of Kenya be established to oversee the production and distribution of marijuana for medicinal use.

During the debate process, Ogot will be asked to speak with members of parliament to review his position, in which he stated that the problem is not the plant itself but the law that criminalizes it.

The petition has also created some political controversy in Kenya; Senator Kennedy Mong’are surprised his fellow Senators when he admitted to using cannabis in his younger days.

Senator Mong’are, who is also a presidential hopeful, shared his cannabis experience while offering support of the petition. “Strict regulations don’t help. It is abused because of laws criminalizing it. The problem with Kenyans is living in denial,” he said.

It appears the petition is creating much debate, with Senators on both sides making passionate arguments for and against marijuana reform. Media coverage within Africa clearly cites the United States as a prime example of why marijuana should be decriminalized and cultivated for medical use.

As the 60-day deadline approaches, Kenyans are watching with anticipation to see if cannabis reform will not just be something they read about in other countries, it will be their reality as well.

Photo courtesy of Ninara

 

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