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Five global developments in medical cannabis

The latest news from Europe, Asia and South America



US bill to expand medical cannabis research

Major developments in medical cannabis are happening across the globe, but while some countries are taking giant leaps forward, others appear to be taking a step back.

Cannabis is booming in Europe with the medical industry expected to reach a value of $4.2 billion by 2027.

Elsewhere, Canada and the United States continue to lead the way in their approach to law reform, with increasing numbers of countries starting to follow in their footsteps.

Thailand became the latest state to legalise cannabis, removing it from the country’s list of prohibited substances earlier this month.

Spain is finally set to legalise medical cannabis, meanwhile, law courts in Brazil have shown progression, following a court case that ruled in favour of three patients cultivating their own plants at home.

Hong Kong, however, has taken a step backwards in its approach to cannabis-based products, with law enforcement authorities proposing a ban on all CBD products.

We’ve rounded up the latest developments you might have missed.

Spain moves toward legalising medical cannabis

Patients in Spain will likely soon be able to access medical cannabis in hospital and health centre pharmacies, for a  conditions, including chronic pain related to multiple sclerosis, some forms of epilepsy, those who suffer from nausea and vomiting derived from chemotherapy and cancer pain.

On 30 May, the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) introduced a bill to legalise medical cannabis in the country.

According to local media, The Canary News, the Subcommittee on Medicinal Cannabis in the Congress of Deputies approved the bill on Tuesday 21 June to regulate the therapeutic use of cannabis. However this is limited to a few conditions and will not include cannabis flower.

Spain has decriminalised recreational cannabis for personal cultivation and use, but has yet to enact a medical cannabis law.

Hong Kong proposes ban on CBD products within a year

As the popularity of CBD grows in Hong Kong, law enforcement authorities have proposed making the substance illegal under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance.

CBD with no trace of THC is currently legal in Hong Kong but if the law changes, those who either but or consume CBD could face up to seven years in jail.

The law would also prohibit the manufacture, import, export, supply, sale and shipment of any products containing CBD.

Home-cultivation win in Brazil

A panel of judges in Brazil has ruled that three patients on trial for home cultivation should be permitted to grow their own medical cannabis. The landmark decision is likely to inform future cases, however the national government is yet to respond.

The current president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has openly stated his opposition to the legalisation and home cultivation of cannabis for medical use.

The five judges have challenged the president’s position on the issue saying that the government has failed to take a reasonable position on medical cannabis.

Thai citizens fear teen use of cannabis

Following the removal of cannabis from the list of prohibited narcotics earlier this month, Thai citizens have voiced their opinions on legalisation.

Thailand’s National Institute of Development Administration conducted a poll from June 13-15 on 1,310 respondents aged 15 and above.

Cannabis use among children was the most prevalent fear among respondents with around 72 per cent saying they are ‘definitely’ worried or ‘moderately’ worried.

While just under a quarter of respondents believed that the government cannot control cannabis consumption, 35 per cent strongly agreed that cannabis can “generate income and cure diseases”.

Cyprus patients call for quicker prescription process

Hundreds of Cypriots patients in need of medical cannabis have criticised the protocol for gaining a prescription, branding it as too slow.

“Cases of chronic patients crying out for help are in the hundreds,” Demetris Lambrianides of the Federation of Patients’ Associations of Cyprus said.

“We cannot say that progress in the procedure has been recorded, unfortunately. There is a procedure but it is not helpful enough for chronic patients.

“Medical cannabis is used mainly by cancer patients but also by some rheumatology ones as well as by people with neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis,” he added.

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