Sahpra denies ‘white bias’ in medicinal cannabis licensing

Sahpra denies ‘white bias’ in medicinal cannabis licensing

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) has refuted claims by the Black Farmers Association of South Africa (Bfasa) that it is excluding black people from being granted medicinal cannabis licenses.


Bfasa President Lennox Mtshagi has claimed that Sahpra discriminates against black farmers.

Mtshagi alleged that Sahpra chair Helen Rees and the CEO Boitumelo Semete-Makoktlela are issuing licenses to affluent white people on the directive of the Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize.

But Sahpra spokesperson Yuven Gounden says this allegation is far from the truth.

"The minister is not involved in any way with operational processes such as the issuance of licenses and neither has he issued such a restrictive directive.

"Sahpra treats all applicants equally and with respect and does not practise any prejudice in its dealings with all stakeholders, including all applicants.”

He adds: “The current legislation does not permit Sahpra to issue licenses for the cultivation of cannabis for non-medicinal commercial purposes including for use in food.”

Gounden explains that the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes requires strict control as South Africa is a signatory to international treaties that prohibit the production and supply of narcotic and psychotropic drugs.

"Sahpra recognises that there is an ongoing global dialogue around the use of cannabis for both medicinal and non-medicinal purposes," says Gounden.

"Sahpra is by no means the only body that is involved with the regulation of cannabis and we are concerned about the inaccuracies of such narratives by Bfasa because they confuse the public in what is a complex legal and policy matter.”


Listen to more news from Jacaranda
Jacaranda FM

Show's Stories