Mario Ambrosini

Johannesburg -

The late IFP MP Mario Ambrosini’s private member’s bill calling for the legalisation of medicinal dagga has been revived in Parliament after his death last month.

Ambrosini decided to end his life after battling stage four lung cancer for more than a year, his family said.

Picking up where Ambrosini left off, the ANC moved a motion in the National Assembly yesterday to note the Medical Innovation Bill, which calls for the legalisation of dagga for medicinal purposes.

The bill lapsed when Ambrosini ceased to be an MP, and has now been revived by IFP chief whip, Narend Singh.

In his motion to the House, ANC chief whip, Stone Sizani, said the Medical Innovation Bill was revived from the stage at which it was referred to the portfolio committee on health in the sixth session of the fourth Parliament.

Sizani said the House further noted that the bill had lapsed.

The House resolved therefore to suspend Assembly rules 237 and 241 “to allow for the introduction of the Medical Innovation Bill by Singh and refer all public submissions previously received to the relevant committee”.

Singh said it would take about 18 months to process the bill.

“First, as the IFP, we are delighted that all parties have agreed that this bill be retabled in the name of the honourable Singh and the wishes of the late honourable Ambrosini.

“We feel it’s a very positive step and we hope after acceptance of the resolution by the House that the portfolio committee on health will now (have the) responsibility of calling the sponsor of the bill and other people who want to make submissions on the bill to do so.”

He said it should not be considered just in principle, but “clause by clause”.

Singh said Ambrosini had no choice but to use cannabinoids illegally to ease his pain until his last day.