THE Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZIMA) has pleaded with government to reverse its recently announced intentions to license Marijuana farming for medicinal purposes saying it could lead to a spike in drug abuse and dependence.
By Michael Gwarisa
Through their micro-blogging site @ZimMedicalAssociation, ZIMA said they had strong reservations to the whole process and licensing should be strictly monitored and not generalised.
“One of the drivers of drug dependence is increased access. Legalising cannibis may drive cannibis dependence. We urge the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) to reconsider. By who & for what medical conditions will medicinal cannabis be prescribed. We have strong reservations.
“Our members deal with cancer patients and chronic pain sufferers where they use very strong medications, whose dosages are strictly controlled and access significantly restricted. Such security measures and guidelines are not yet in place, hence our reservations,” said ZIMA.
Health minister David Parirenyatwa published new regulations, , allowing individuals and companies to be licensed to cultivate marijuana, known locally as mbanje.
The five-year renewable licences will allow growers to possess, transport and sell fresh and dried cannabis as well as cannabis oil. Applications should include plans of the growing site, quantity to be produced and sold and the production period.
A licence can be refused when information has been received from a “peace officer, a competent authority or the United Nations” that an applicant was involved in the diversion of a controlled substance or precursor to an illicit market or use”, the regulations said.
“The minister may not oblige if the issuance, renewal or amendment of the licence is likely to create a risk to public health, safety or security.”