These days everybody´s talking about Ireland, Sweden, New Zealand and the Philippines … What do these different countries have in common? These four states are all making changes in their legislation on medical cannabis.
A report from the Irish Ministry of Health has approved the regulation of therapeutic marijuana in the country. This is restricted to patients who have tried other conventional methods without success, and for those with diseases where “evidence suggests cannabis can be effective”, such as multiple sclerosis.
The case of Sweden
Sweden has finally decided to follow the Nordic policies and Swedish patients are already receiving their first medical prescriptions to be treated with marijuana.
In Norway, Denmark and Finland, some patients can obtain medical cannabis with medical authorization. Now Sweden will allow the therapeutic use of the plant through oral intake.
The pilot program has been applauded by numerous scientific personalities such as Dr. Claes Hulting as well as patients who have become public figures, such as Andreas Thörn, whose case is a symbol of medical cannabis defenders.
Changes in New Zealand
Many New Zealanders believe it is time to change the country’s medical cannabis policies.
Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne supports the regulation for therapeutic use. “I wrote to the Director-General of Health, advising him that as of February 8, 2017, applications from specialists to the Ministry to prescribe non-pharmaceutical cannabis-based products will no longer need ministerial approval”, he said.
The contradiction of the Philippines
The situation in the Philippines is quite unusual. The current President Rodrigo Duterte has carried out one of the hardest anti-drug policies in the world. He maintains that recreational cannabis is harmful but “medical marijuana, yes. Because it is an ingredient of modern medicine. There are medicines that are currently being developed or in the market that have marijuana”, he says.
The country is full of contrasts at the moment. While the Army has been mobilized in the fight against drugs, Senator Risa Hontiveros has presented a proposition for the legalisation of several substances for medical purposes, among which is marijuana.