South Africa gave the green light for the first legal cannabis pharmacy operation. The cannabis dispensary opened in South Africa after receiving its license in late 2021.
A step forward following the end of the prohibition.
THC Pharmacy, registered with the South African Pharmacy Board and Department of Health, will supply cards to medical cannabis users. South Africa ended the prohibition of cannabis by decriminalizing its private consumption in 2018.
According to THC Africa CEO Kyle Brocklebank, the pharmacy, located in Glenanda, Johannesburg, will take care of the application procedures for the use of medical cannabis and give cannabis-friendly cooking classes. It will also supply two other pharmacies in South Africa: CBD Hub in Meyerton, Gauteng, and CBD Emporium in Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal.
“So far, the pharmacy has sold more than 3kg of the dried medical flowers. It is slow because each card only allows for 120g per person a month which is 4g a day for 30 days. We’re aiming for around 500 card-carrying members, where we will see around 30kg-50kg of product sold per month,” Brocklebank said.
THC Pharmacy obtained its license after a rigorous process.
The pharmacy underwent various quality checks with the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority to obtain a license. After these checks, the license authorizes the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes only.
“There are a number of sections that you have to deal with. There are CIPRAs, medical boards, health departments, licensing, and pharma accounts you need to open. You have to go through certification services. It is a very tedious process. It will take at least two to three years to get close to that. The patient then sees a doctor who listens to their ailments and prescribes cannabis with specific doses of CBD and THC,“ Brocklebank added.
Patients have to fill in a document to submit to the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra), which is responsible for issuing cards authorizing the therapeutic use of cannabis.
THC Pharmacy works in collaboration with professor Benny de Beer, whose cannabis company CBD Full Focus specializes in research & development and education.
“That is the approval Sahpra needs to give in order to use cannabis. We tie the whole process together by helping with the application and then selling the regulated product,” De Beer said.