21st May 2021
By Roland Sebestyén
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A group of European lawmakers aim to end the stigmatisation of medical cannabis and help patients in need to make the medicine more accessible in the EU.

EURACTIV reports that more than 40 MEPs joined a cross-party group to tackle the stigma and taboo around medical cannabis in the member states.

One of the group leaders, the Maltese MEP Alex Agius Saliba, said: “It does not make sense to keep treating patients who direly need these prescriptions as second, third, or fourth class patients.”

He added the group would include a number of MEPs from countries where medical cannabis is widely accessible (Germany and Malta, for example), and also if he had to choose, he would like a more structured system like Germany has in Europe.

Mr Saliba said: “These colleagues could bring good practices from their countries, and we can see whether their models can be replicated horizontally in the EU.

“The biggest problem is that we cannot pick and choose between the pilot project system and the structured one, as we are starting from scratch at the EU level.”

First, the group will need to have to work hard on the basics. The first questions should be to determine what medical cannabis exactly is.

Mr Saliba told EURACTIV that while there are some countries where medical cannabis is no longer a “taboo”, the group will aim to “advance the demands of a resolution that the European Parliament adopted in 2019 in which MEPs called on the EU executive and national authorities to provide a legal definition of medical cannabis.”

He said: “That resolution was very important and carried a strong message. But, frankly speaking, nothing has really changed since 2019 when it comes to definitions, harmonisation, and better access to medical cannabis.”

The new group, EURACTIV says, will start working with EU umbrella organisations and NGOs, as well as with the industry immediately.

Mr Saliba reiterated: “But our main aim is to be representatives of patients and their rights.

“We want to have wider representation and more contact with NGOs representing patients’ voice while collaborating with the industry when it comes to research and legislative harmonisation.”

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