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Cannabis News For Europe This Week

Denmark Gives Out Free Cannabis and the Dutch Need More

Posted by:
DanaSmith on Saturday Mar 31, 2018
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European Cannabis News Roundup

 

Denmark Offers Free MMJ To Patients With Specific Qualifying Conditions

 

Medical cannabis is now one of the newest drugs set to be included among the list of government-subsidized medicines in Denmark, reports the Copenhagen Post.

 

Dansk Folkeparti and the government have just reached a new joint agreement with the intention of reducing the cost of cannabis prescribed to terminally ill patients. The new agreement states that patients with terminally ill conditions can obtain cannabis for free, while non-terminally ill patients will be able to obtain MMJ with a 50% rebate.

 

The agreement will only take effect on January 1, 2019 although it will be considered retroactive. Before the agreement, over 200 patients have already been prescribed with medical cannabis as part of trials started on January 1 this year. However, the Danish government’s MMJ program has been criticized for being unaffordable.

 

“As I see it, it is important that medicinal cannabis is subsidized so that everyone can benefit from it, regardless of their income,” says Liselott Blixt, health spokesperson for Dansk Folkeparti. She is also pushing for the subsidization program to be implemented earlier. “It’s not much use to those who could benefit from it now and who are dying. I’ll see if I can persuade the minister to pass an accelerated bill,” she says.

 

Malta Officially Legalizes Medical Cannabis

 

Malta has officially joined the ranks of other European nations who are acknowledging the medicinal benefits of cannabis. Amendments into the Drug Dependence Act (Treatment not Imprisonment) came into effect on March 23 after the third and final hearing.

 

The measure finally allows family physicians to prescribe MMJ to patients in the form of non-smoking methods which will be available at pharmacies provided that patients can show a doctor’s prescription. The Superintendent of Public Health will be issuing control cards to be distributed to patients, which will also need to be shown to pharmacies.

 

Maltese parliament has only approved MMJ for 3 conditions so far: spasticity for multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and the side effects of chemotherapy.

 

Amendments to the bill are supported by advocacy groups such as the Malta Cannabis Social Club, The Pain Clinic, and ReLeaf. Despite progress, the bill still received criticisms since it prohibits patients from growing their own medicine. Another bill, one that will regulate the production of cannabis in Malta, is still being developed.

 

Dutch Ministers Provide Framework Of 4-Year Trial To Supply Cannabis To Coffee Shops

 

In the Netherlands, cannabis is easily found in 573 coffee shops found in 103 out of the 380 municipalities nationwide. Even though cannabis is tolerated by local authorities depending on certain conditions, supply of cannabis has been a problem.


The lack of local cannabis supply in the Netherlands has led to a thriving illicit market which distributes wholesale cannabis as well. Last October, the Dutch government announced plans to undergo an experiment that would legalize supply of cannabis to coffee shops in the Netherlands. Based on the plan, the experiment would allow cannabis to be legally supplied to as much as 10 medium and large municipalities.

 

The experiment seeks to evaluate the impact of legal cannabis supply on various aspects including crime, public health, safety, and nuisance. The trial should also be carried out in municipalities of different sizes and location. Last March 9, 2018, the minister of Health, Welfare, and Sport as well as the minister of Justice and Security laid out the groundwork for the trial.

 

In a letter to the Dutch parliament, the ministers outlined the three phases of the experiment: preparation (entry into the law, assigning growers and municipalities, establishing a research consortium), experiment (the 4-year trial period of producing cannabis and delivering them to coffee shops), and completion (restoring the situation into pre-experiment stage, which will be conducted over a period of 6 months).

 

They will also be establishing an independent advisory committee which will be tasked with helping to define standards for the experiment including how cannabis will be cultivated, how the program will be monitored and enforced, and creating the criteria for picking municipalities to participate in the program. Once summer is over, the committee will be nominating municipalities.

 

The draft law has been sent to key stakeholders for consultation, including the association of municipalities, the council for the judiciary, and the college of attorneys general. The law will also be complemented with an order which will define more detailed requirements for the cultivation and sales of cannabis.

 

 

European Cannabis News For This Week from CannabisNet on Vimeo.

 

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