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Cannabis-in-brief: The Netherlands, Portugal and Belgium look towards reform while France casts doubt on medical access

Your round-up of the latest cannabis news



We look back at the developments over the last two weeks to bring you some of the headlines you might have missed.

The top lines: The Netherlands has announced an official start date for its legalisation pilot, while officials in Portugal and Belgium also appear to be looking towards reform. 

By contrast, in France the full legalisation of medical cannabis looks uncertain after the ongoing trial ends in 2024, despite patients reporting positive outcomes. 

And scientists have published new recommendations for the maximum daily dose of CBD supplements, following a new review. 

Catch up below…

The Netherlands to launch legalisation pilot December 2023

Dutch officials have announced that the country’s cannabis legalisation experiment will begin its pilot phase before the end of the year.

Initially approved by the senate in 2019, the Wietexperiment [Weed Experiment] will see a select number of cultivators permitted to supply legal cannabis to coffee shops in 10 cities throughout the Netherlands.

Following a number of delays, a letter to the Dutch parliament has now confirmed that the startup phase will begin on 15 December, in the cities of Breda and Tilburg.

Read more here 


Portugal to establish working group on adult-use cannabis

The regulation of recreational cannabis in Portugal may be imminent, following the European trend to review drug policies.

According to local media, the Portuguese Socialist Party (PS) – which currently holds a majority in the Portuguese government – intends to evaluate the use of cannabis for non-medical purposes. 

Leader of the PS parliamentary bench , Eurico Brilhante Dias, announced its intention to create a working group dedicated to exploring the recreational use of cannabis, during the party’s first meeting after the parliamentary summer break.

Brilhante Dias stressed that, after debating and delving deeper into the topic, the party will consider the possibility of presenting a legislative initiative. 

Read more here 


France’s full legalisation of medical cannabis in doubt 

New information suggests that the Macron government may not support the general legalisation of medical cannabis in France when the ongoing trial ends in 2024.

The government has presented to the parliament the 2024 Social Security Financing Bill, which does not include a budget or regulatory framework for the general legalisation of cannabis for medicinal use.

Last year the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) announced an extension to its medical cannabis experiment, which allows 2,000 patients to access medicinal cannabis through select pharmacies.

According to reports, 91% of patients have indicated that they are in favour of general legalisation. The majority have reported positive outcomes in terms of symptom management, particularly for pain relief and palliative care.

Read more here 


Scientists publish new recommendations for CBD dosing

A scientific review was commissioned by cannabis companies, Canopy Growth and Charlotte’s Web, to develop recommendations for oral doses of CBD isolate.

Researchers used publicly available data from human clinical trials and toxicity studies in animal models to set upper intake levels of CBD when taken as a dietary supplement.

A dose between 100-160 mg per day was determined to be generally safe for ‘healthy adults’ who are not trying to conceive, are pregnant or breastfeeding, in which case a maximum dose of 70 mg per day is recommended.

Based on the liver effects in human studies, a Potential Acceptable Daily Intake value of 0.43 mg per kg of body weight per day, was derived for the general population. This includes children and other groups who may be particularly sensitive to CBD, and applies to all sources including food.

Read more here 


Belgium’s deputy Prime Minister calls for legalisation

Global winds of change have also blown across Belgium, after the Deputy Prime Minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne publicly called for the country to consider legalising cannabis earlier this month, Business of Cannabis reports. 

Speaking to Flemish news publication De Morgen, Mr Dermange, who is also the Minister of the Economy and Employment, pointed to Belgium’s three neighbouring countries, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, all of which are pushing ahead with cannabis reform.

“When we talk about the drug problem in Belgium, a radical reform comes to mind: we have to consider the legalisation of cannabis,” he said.

“Simply decriminalising cannabis use makes no sense to me. We need to legalise in order to organise the cultivation and sale, which will also generate revenue for the state.”

The comments came as Mr Dermange was discussing how to tackle the drug and security problem faced by the country’s larger cities like Brussels and Antwerp, with the police and justice department already being allocated a budget of an extra €1bn.

Read more over on Business of Cannabis

Home » News » Cannabis-in-brief: The Netherlands, Portugal and Belgium look towards reform while France casts doubt on medical access

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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