Export of Medical Cannabis to South Africa


Tilray, a global pioneer in cannabis cultivation, processing and distribution, today announced that it has successfully exported medical cannabis products to South Africa for nationwide distribution to qualified patients through pharmacies. Tilray’s product is the first cannabinoid-based product derived from the cannabis plant that has ever been legally exported to and made available for medical purposes in the country of South Africa and on the continent of Africa.


“We are encouraged by the evolving regulations pertaining to cannabis in South Africa and around the world and are pleased to make our pharmaceutical-grade products available to qualified patients in need throughout the country,” said Brendan Kennedy, Tilray CEO.


Tilray’s medical cannabis product in South Africa is a GMP-manufactured, full-spectrum oral solution featuring a balanced ratio of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The product is available to qualified patients under South Africa’s named patient program. Through that program, authorized practitioners can apply for permission to access and prescribe unregistered medicines, including the Tilray product, when intending to treat individual patients for specific conditions where certain registered medicines have failed. The product will then be distributed to patients through authorized distribution channels.


Currently in South Africa many residents (apps. 83%) do not have access to private health care, meaning they may have great difficulty accessing medical marijuana through the named patient program.  Any resident with private health care (appx. 17% of the population) will have a better chance of accessing medical marijuana in South Africa through the named patient program. 


In South Africa, Tilray has partnered with BGM Pharmaceuticals, a locally-owned biotechnology company with a focus on providing innovative medical solutions to improve patient health outcomes in Africa. BGM is a level 1 Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) research-focused company. BBBEE is a form of economic empowerment initiated by the South African government in response to criticism against narrow-based empowerment instituted in the country.  BBBEE is a racially selective programme launched by the South African government to redress the inequalities of Apartheid by giving certain previously disadvantaged groups (Blacks, Coloureds, Indians, and Chinese) of South African citizens economic privileges previously not available to them.  Tilray partnering with a BBBEE company in its South African venture is is yet another indication of how the cannabis i industry can be a powerful tool in economic development.


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