European Parliament passes resolution to address barriers to medical marijuana access
The European Parliament voted February 13 on a resolution that would help promote research on and access to medical marijuana in the countries that form the European Union.
While the resolution is a non-binding legal document, it does, in conjunction with the World Health Organization’s recommendation to reschedule marijuana, show that pot is a popular political topic on the international stage.
The resolution calls on European nations to increase access to medical marijuana for specific illnesses and places a prioritization on scientific research and clinical studies.
“The EU Parliament is just the latest voice to recognize the medical value of cannabis and the benefits of regulation over prohibition,” Tom Angell, publisher of Marijuana Moment, said in an interview. “I’m hopeful that the growing chorus in favor of reform will spur action by nations to change their policies and improve access for patients who need this medicine.”
In a statement on the resolution, the European Parliament called for greater clarity in cannabis laws, a reduction in regulatory barriers in research, and collaboration with the WHO in spite of international variation on the political treatment of cannabis.
The motion from the European Parliament
What does the resolution by the European Parliament call on the EU to do?
While the resolution is non-binding, it passed with a popular majority, signaling strong support for research into medical marijuana.
The resolution, while not establishing international law, is a symbolic development showing the European Parliament’s resolve to help its member states develop regulations and research models for marijuana on an international scale.
The measure “calls on Member States to allow doctors to make free use of their professional judgment in prescribing regulatory-approved cannabis-based medicines to patients with relevant conditions, and to allow pharmacists to lawfully honour those prescriptions.”
The resolution also suggests the improvement of equal access to cannabis-based medicines, to ensure that these medicines are covered by health insurance, and that patients have access to specialized medical professionals while they take marijuana-based medicines.
The resolution makes similar arguments for the rescheduling of cannabis, stating that the regulation of cannabis-based medicine would ”limit the black market and ensure quality and accurate labelling to help control points of sale, would limit the access of this substance to minors, and would ensure legal certainty and safe access for patients for its medicinal use, with particular precautions being in place for young people and pregnant women.”
The international marijuana rescheduling movement
In late January 2019, the World Health Organization recommended that whole-plant marijuana and cannabis resin be removed from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention, and rescheduled to Schedule I.
If the United Nations adopts the WHO’s recommendations later this year, cannabis policy would be globally affected.
For example, PotNetwork reported that the WHO recommended that CBD not be scheduled at all. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stated that if such a change were to take place on an international scale, that would be cause to consider rescheduling CBD under federal law.
The resolution stresses the importance of working closely with the WHO to help the EU take further steps in the field of medical cannabis.
In the statement announcing the resolution, the European Parliament argued: “there is substantial evidence that cannabis and cannabinoids have therapeutic effects for treating chronic pain in adults, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and improve muscle spasticity in multiple sclerosis.”
If the resolution signals anything, it is that the need for cannabis policy to be made on a cooperative and international scale is clear.