Health Ministry Goes Slow on Medical Marijuana

By , 07 Feb 2018, 18:51 PM News
Health Ministry Goes Slow on Medical Marijuana Photomontage by JL Flanner, using an image by AndYaDontStop Flickr CC 2.0

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Legal, but in limbo. 

The parliamentary Health Committee has found that the Health Ministry has not yet fully implemented its 2016 recommendation to draw up legal bases to allow medical cannabis treatment and production, the STA reported February 7, 2018.

The session on Wednesday was called by the opposition Left, whose MP Violeta Tomić noted that back in October 2016 the committee adopted several resolutions, which were still not realised.

The committee at the time called on the ministry to remove cannabis from the list of class A drugs within two months and provide the legal framework to allow growing and prescribing medical marijuana.

The government did amend the illicit drugs classification decree in March 2017 to move cannabis from the group of harmful substances which are not used in medicine to the group of plants and substances that can be harmful but can be used in medicine.

However, Tomić said that due to the ministry's inactivity it is still not possible to use medical cannabis in practice.

"I wonder what's the point of us sitting here and what's the point of having a parliament when the ministry ignores our decisions."

The rest of the committee agreed that the ministry had not fully implemented the 2016 resolutions, but failed to back the Left in calling the ministry to fully implement the resolutions within 30 days.

The committee also failed to endorse the proposal to have the ministry report back within a fortnight which measures it has so far implemented.

Most of the MPs argued that realising committee resolutions within 30 days was impossible. They were also satisfied with today's briefing by Health Ministry State Secretary Ana Medved.

She reported that the government had adopted a decree enabling the use of cannabis buds for medical purposes and that a manual had been prepared to enable imports and prescription of cannabis buds, although guidelines were yet to be implemented.

The ministry also realised that a special law would be needed to enable growing medicinal cannabis, which is yet to be drawn up.

Stanislav Primožič from Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices said that imports of medicinal cannabis were possible, but needed to be sanctioned by a senior head at a doctor's request.

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