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Romania to host international debate on medicinal cannabis

Experts from across Europe have been invited to speak to Romanian leaders on Tuesday.



Romania to host international debate on medicinal cannabis
Romania to host its first international debate on medicinal cannabis. Photo: Aboodi Vesakara/Unsplash

UK campaigners will take part in an international debate on medicinal cannabis, in another step towards legal access for patients in Romania.

Prominent advocates from across Europe will travel to Romania this week to take part in the country’s first international debate on medicinal cannabis.

UK experts, Hannah Deacon and Professor Mike Barnes, are among the guests invited to speak to Romanian leaders on Tuesday 22 November, along with German lawyer, Sita Schubert, secretary general and co-founder of the European Medicinal Cannabis Association.

While medicinal and recreational use of cannabis remains prohibited in Romania, pharmaceutical derivatives of the plant can be used to treat certain medical conditions, such as epilepsy, cancer and multiple sclerosis under provisions in two of the Narcotic Drug Regulations.

However, virtually no patients have been able to access these medicines legally due to a lack of prescribing and of interest from companies in applying for licences to supply them, according to market analysts, Prohibition Partners. 

The event, which is the first time medicinal cannabis has been discussed in the Romanian Parliament at this level, will provide a forum for participants to debate the benefits of cannabis for medical purposes and how to facilitate access for patients in the country. 

Alexandra Cârstea, founding president of the Victoria Mea association

Alexandra Cârstea, founding president of the Victoria Mea association, who is hosting the event, has campaigned for legal access to medical cannabis since 2017 after her mother was diagnosed with cancer. 

Ms Cârstea’s national petition provided the legal ground for the draft law, known today as the ‘Victoria’ law (named after her mother) under which the cannabis plant – and substances and preparations containing cannabis – may be used for medical purposes.

She commented: “I started on this path out of love for my mother and I have continued to take all of the necessary steps so that my mother’s suffering would have a meaning and that the voices of the Romanians who signed the petition for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis in Romania would be heard.

“Victoria Mea means an approach driven by love and has all the moral, scientific and legal arguments to carry out a project that could change for the better the lives of many sick people who have been waiting too long for a new chance of treatment.”

The debate will be attended by MPs, members of specialised committees from the Chamber of Deputies, medical professionals, academics and pharmacists from across Romania.

Alexandra Cârstea has campaigned for legal access to cannabis in memory of her mother.

Campaigners will also present the findings from the country’s first nationwide questionnaire on the topic of medicinal cannabis, facilitated by a company formed of sociologists experts with whom Victoria Mea Association has been working with.

The event will be co-hosted by Cristina Dumitrache, member of the Health and Family Committee of the Chamber of Deputies and the politician who initiated the draft Victoria Law, gathering support from around 100 cross-party MPs in 2019. 

The event will also present the opportunity for leading doctors and politicians in Romania to ask questions and have any concerns addressed by those with the expertise and experience in countries where medical cannabis treatment is legal.

Last year, the first international conference on medicinal cannabis, organised by Victoria Mea Association, saw international speakers from the UK, Spain, Malta, Germany, United States, Bulgaria and Romania. 

Hannah Deacon, who will travel to the country to speak on Tuesday, commented: “It is an honour to be asked to speak at this event about the journey we’ve had to get Alfie his prescription. 

“It saddens me that patients, parents and families of patients have to continue to fight for access to medicinal cannabis. It shouldn’t be so hard to try a medication that could get you well. I look forward to doing all I can to support Alexandra with all she wishes to achieve in Romania.”

The debate can be followed on Youtube.

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Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister title and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


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