With so much confusion and misinformation circulating about cannabis, and the ongoing debate around whether or not cannabis is actually legal in South Africa, it’s pretty difficult to know where to source it.
The First Medical Cannabis Dispensary in South Africa
The infamous Durban medical centre that launched in 2017 that had everyone talking, Holistic Relief Wellness and Pain Management Centre in Durban north, is regarded as the first dispensary of medical cannabis in SA.
Due to its rapid growth and popularity, the centre’s first franchise Holistic Releaf Health & Wellness facility was opened in Ballito in 2018, followed by the Sarnia dispensary in Queensburgh, Durban.
The objective of the facility is to provide an alternative healthcare solution that makes use of ‘cannabinoid integrated medicine’ and scientific research.
The initiative was spearheaded by Krithi Thaver, founding member of Canna Culture SA and chairperson of the Cannabis Development Council of South Africa, or CDCSA.
The Centre aims to diagnose and treat patients with cannabis products and is equipped with a full house of medical professionals to provide a high quality, holistic approach to healing.
How do these Centres get around the legal ‘grey area’ of commercialising cannabis? According to Thaver, they are “legally licensed to trade as traditional healers.”
Thaver has been quoted as saying that “According to the Traditional Health Practitioners Act, a traditional healer is allowed to prescribe cannabis. It falls under their indigenous plant system.”
“We work with traditional healers countrywide who produce our medicines and we assist them to get them tested to ensure its safe for human consumption and it has the necessary compounds to treat specific conditions.”
With a long list of credentials in the medical cannabis industry, the name Krithi Thaver has become synonymous with cannabis activism.
Thaver seeks to demystify the current misconceptions around cannabis and bring to light its myriad of medicinal uses, and his cause is gaining much traction both locally and internationally.
As chairperson of the Cannabis Development Council of SA, Thaver and his colleagues host open days for the CDCSA KZN, to provide public education and membership applications for those with an interest in the cannabis industry.
Cannabis growing classes are also offered, where one can pop in for a free basic class, a cup of ‘Marley coffee’ and leave with free seeds to put the new learnings to use. Students can also pick up their ‘dose of cannabis ayurvedic based medicine’ at the centre.
So humbled to have our work recognised by BBC which aired a few weeks ago to a global audience of over 2 billion people on a show called Smart Money. None of this would be possible without a dedicated, motivated, passionate and humble team that i call my family. To the following, Thank you for your commitment to this cause and seeing our vision which will bring about change to Africa. Kearshan Govender Michael Catarino Semeshen Chetty Michael Govender Dean-Henry Maistry Gregg Smith Sandro Thaver Sloven Thaver Gregg Naidoo Verusha Pillay Riyaadh Naidu Ayanda Arnold Mbambo Lunga Wela Charles Beukes Thobe Zulu Simone Maistry Donovan Thaver Keshni Thaver
Posted by Krithi Thaver on Thursday, 13 December 2018
Recently a feature video filmed at the Holistic Releaf Health & Wellness facility interviewing Thaver was aired on BBC Smart Money.
A weekly half-hourly magazine programme, BBC Smart Money seeks to provide financial advice from African entrepreneurs and highlights money and business topics from across the African continent. The programme reaches an audience of more than 2 billion people.
Thaver proudly shared the feature on his Facebook page, humbly thanking his team for their contribution to the success of the franchise, “Thank you for your commitment to this cause and seeing our vision which will bring about change to Africa.”
Kyle Deutschmann (or Deutsch as per his music persona) offered a live performance at the official opening of the franchises Ballito dispensary and Sarnia dispensary in Queensburgh, Durban in 2018.
Not only did Deutschmann lend his voice to the Centre as a former Idols South Africa contestant, but he is also the in-house chiropractor.
Referred to by his patients as Doctor Deutschmann, Kyle offers his services alongside other medical professionals at the Centre including that of a General Practitioner, Traditional Healer and Homeopath.
How to Apply for a Medical Growers License in South Africa
While the country eagerly awaits medical cannabis dispensaries to extend beyond just Durban, perhaps for now the alternative is to risk purchasing products from an array of online stores and ‘kitchen dispensaries’ across South Africa.
If one wants to venture into the grey area that is the legalization of cultivating and consuming of cannabis in a ‘private space’, that is an option too.
But this would pose further challenges in terms of using the raw materials to produce consumables such as medical cannabis oil.
Perhaps another alternative for the serious, cannabis-committed, is to obtain a medical growers licence.
The Medicines Control Council (MCC or more recently known as SAHPRA) is responsible for issuing of medical marijuana licenses in South Africa, that will allow an individual to cultivate and commercialize cannabis on the open market.
Prospective growers will be required to meet basic minimum requirements as laid out by the MCC (SAHPRA) in order to be eligible for consideration.
Those with prior convictions for drug-related crimes however need not even bother to apply, as the application will not be considered.
Aside from the steep application cost to obtain a manufacturer’s licence, which is in excess of R20 000, anyone can apply. Potential growers can anticipate that the entry mechanics will be quite rigorous though, and most are unlikely to to succeed in meeting all of the growing and producing requirements.
Included in the broader requirements are, but not limited to, the following:
- Personnel requirements
- Security requirements
- Buildings and Facilities requirements
- Equipment requirements
- Production and Manufacturing requirements
- Storage and Distribution requirements
The Final Word on Medical Cannabis in South Africa
Although cultivation and consumption of medical marijuana in South Africa has been decriminalized for personal use by an adult in a private space, the possession, use and distribution of cannabis outside these parameters remains illegal.
On the bright side if the first franchised dispensary of medical cannabis in SA (Holistic Releaf Health & Wellness facility) is anything to go by, then there is much hope for those who are seeking effective, affordable and legal alternatives to conventional medicine.