South African black farmers’ claims that they were being denied licences to grow medicinal cannabis in the country were false, a state regulatory body said on Saturday.The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) said that the farmers’ charges that they were being excluded from being granted licenses to grow medicinal cannabis were “completely untrue” because the body’s application forms required no such information for decision making in processing the licences.
SAHPRA Chief Executive Boitumelo Semete Makokotlela said: “That is completely untrue. We operate under the Medicines Act and the last amendment of the law was in 2017.”
“There are three key things that we look at as our criteria, and demographics are nowhere in our application form as a request for granting licences,” Semete-Makokotlela added.
The Black Farmers Association of South Africa (BFASA), however, maintained that SAHPRA was only granting licences to white-owned multinational companies at the expense of the local African farmers.
This week the grieving farmers took to the streets to protest against SAHPRA for excluding them, Rastafarians and traditional doctors from being issued with cannabis growing licences.
The association demanded the revocation of the “illegitimate licences”, describing the authority as “a constitutional delinquent body” which needed to be shut down.