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South Africa Approves First Cannabis Pharmacy

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The pharmacy, located in Johannesburg, supplies card-carrying medical cannabis patients and is registered with federal authorities

South Africa is powering forward with its cannabis reform plans. The country has now authorized its first legal cannabis-only pharmacy.

Located in Johannesburg, THC Pharmacy also supplies two other stores – both of which only sell CBD. CBD is now widely available in South Africa, however, THC is tightly controlled – and is still only allowed for medical purposes.

A doctor associated with the pharmacy assists patients with the application for medical cards.

Each card enables a patient to purchase up to 120 grams per month and the pharmacy is hoping to register 500 patients. This would allow the business to sell between 30-50 kgs per month.

Patients must fill out an application that is submitted to the South African Health Product Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) which is also the agency that dispenses the patient cards.

But in a unique twist, the pharmacy also employs a chef to advise patients on how to cook with the plant.

To obtain the business license, the pharmacy had to meet strict standards set out by Sahpra. As it has passed these, the establishment is able to not only sell cannabis but also legally cultivate it.

More than 100 pharmacies are now planned.

More Cannabis Reform in Progress

South Africa is determined to develop this part of its economy – and for obvious reasons. There is high demand for quality products outside the country in Europe and beyond. However, the country is also making sure that domestic needs will be met as well.

This is a marked turn in the development of the industry. For example, Greece, which is also on the hunt for both foreign investment and valuable export crops, did not allow domestic patients to obtain cannabis, even for medical purposes, until earlier this spring.

Beyond this, South Africa is moving forward on all fronts when it comes to cannabis cultivation and use and has since 2018. There is currently a bill in Parliament to extend cannabis reform to allow recreational use, commercial cultivation and for individuals to grow the plant at home. It is widely expected to pass this year.

Beyond this, the country is clearly acting as a force for cannabis reform across the continent. More and more African countries are looking to the development of the industry here to base their own cannabis reform and cultivation efforts.

In the meantime, it is clear South Africa intends to lead the way.

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