Countries all across Europe have been making great strides in improving their medical cannabis laws, with the UK and Greece being the most recent nations to implement medicinal programs, following in the footsteps Germany and the Netherlands. Luxembourg has raised the stakes by announcing intentions to join Canada and Uruguay as ending cannabis prohibition for all adults. While medical patients seek relief across Europe, reform efforts have mimicked those in the United States, with sovereign state after sovereign state implementing their own laws, while patients and activists are hoping for workable policies all across the European Union, as Politico reports:
As patients push for access to these treatments, pharmaceutical companies and cannabis producers are hoping to claim a piece of a market that could be worth €55 billion by 2028, according to an industry report. The concern for many patients, however, is that legislators can’t (or won’t) keep up with demand, leaving medical cannabis to inch its way onto the market, product by product, country by country.
The European market is fragmented. Each country sets its own standards and regulations for cannabis products, meaning Germans can get a prescription for medical cannabis from a doctor, while the French have no legal medical cannabis options at all.
Michael Barnes, a U.K.-based professor of neurology who worked with the U.K. government on changing its medical cannabis laws, said he’d “love to see some kind of standardization” across Europe.
So would many patients. Some want the EU to create a set of guidelines for member countries to consult when they begin the process of legalizing medical cannabis. Others want cannabis covered by the directive on medicinal herbal products. But mainly, they just want the EU to do something.
It is interesting from afar to witness Europe go through similar growing pains (pun intended) as the United States when it comes to cannabis policies. This nation-by-nation approach has brought forth some real progressive policies that I would love to see exported to the US, such as Germany’s insurance coverage while some nation’s like the UK have far too restrictive policies. As progress begets more progress, and we eventually see legalization across the world, and the cannabis industry is creating more jobs and revenue around the globe, let’s all work together to share insight and best practices to ensure that we ensure that we’re keeping the cannabis community out of prison and that patients have access to the medicine that they need.
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