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CBD is finally legal to buy and use without a prescription

Hooray! You are no longer a criminal for using CBD oil!

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has been legalised in certain concentrations for the next 12 months, and you no longer need a prescription to get it.

This is a huge step forward for anyone who relies on CBD oil for their health – and a victory for all cannabis enthusiasts in South Africa.

In one of his last acts as Health Minister of South Africa, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi signed the CBD Exemption Notice which was then published in the Government Gazette, making it official.

Up until this point, CBD oil has been completely illegal in any concentration, despite being widely used and available. The only legal route to using CBD oil required a doctor to apply to SAHPRA on behalf of a patient under Section 21 of the Medicines and Related Substances Act. This would give the patient 3 months’ permission to legally import CBD from a country where it is a registered medicine.

As of February this year, SAHPRA stated that a whole 56 people in South Africa were legally using CBD through this process. All other CBD consumers were technically criminals.

The fine print

This is NOT a blanket legalisation, unfortunately. CBD is legal under restrictive conditions. To quote directly from the CBD Exemption Notice, preparations containing CBD are legal if they:

A) contain a maximum daily dose of 20 mg cannabidiol (CBD) with an accepted low risk claim or health claim which only refer to:

i. General health enhancement without any reference to specific diseases;

ii. Health maintenance; or

iii. Relief of minor symptoms (not related to a disease or disorder); or

B) Consist of processed products made from cannabis raw plant material and processed products, where only the naturally occurring quantity of cannabinoids found in the source material are contained in the product, and which contain not more than 0,001 % of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and not more than 0,0075 % total cannabidiol (CBD).

In layman’s terms

CBD is NOT a medicine, and cannot be legally used to treat any disease or medical condition. Also, it’s only legal in certain limited concentrations and dosages.

What the canna community says

The Traditional and Natural Health Alliance (TNHA) has been campaigning hard for this exemption, and has hailed it as a victory.

National Chairman Anthony Rees said:

“This is a significant victory for all South Africans, who can now gain free access to CBD and CBD-containing products for the first time since all cannabis-related products were banned decades ago. We thank all our loyal industry supporters and the public who signed our recent petition to free CBD oil.”

However, cannabis activism group Fields of Green For All was wary of celebrating too soon – especially given the strict limitations of the exemption.

“It seems like a huge win for the TNHA and CBD, and may well usher in a more rational approach to the classification of Dagga in general,” they wrote in a statement.

“A 20mg maximum daily dose is reasonable for most applications, but does it still mean risking criminalisation if someone were to imbibe more than 20mg?

The final arbitrary figure the Dept Health came up with as their final caveat is not more than 0.0075% CBD in a total product. Can you imagine how ludicrously small that actually is?”

Zootly says: We’ll take the win! If you want to add your signature to the campaign for further legalisation, check out the Traditional and Natural Health Alliance as well as Fields of Green for All.

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