Spain Considers the Legalisation of Medicinal Cannabis

As Spain considers the legalisation of medicinal cannabis, the Euractiv website recently announced medicinal cannabis would be made available on prescription in Ireland. At the same time, the BBC reports that a private clinic in Scotland has started prescribing medicinal cannabis to patients after being approved by regulators in March. While Israel, Germany and Australia also have big plans where the development and distribution of medicinal cannabis is concerned.

“It’s time to make progress and legalize cannabis in Israel,” said Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn in November regarding a new bill that has been introduced in Israel that seeks to legalize recreational-use cannabis for adults aged 21 and over.

Luxembourg is planning to legalise cannabis in every sense. The legalisation of medicinal cannabis was voted in favour of in 2019, but then a pandemic hit which stalled plans.

The Justice Minister and Health Minister have put forward the proposed legalisation, including consumption, possession and production for residents only. Recreational cannabis use will also be legal.

Countries are embracing cannabis for medical use across Europe and worldwide. The Spanish Congressional Health and Consumer Affairs Commission (Comisión de Sanidad y Consumo) has received positive votes to create a sub-committee to consider the potential benefits of legalising medicinal cannabis. Spain is the largest European country without access to medicinal cannabis, so this move is a Sardana in the right direction.

When was cannabis made illegal?

Cannabis was legal in the UK until 1928. Medical use didn’t become illegal until many years later, in 1971. Fast forward 40 years to 2021, the world has realised there is real healing power in marijuana, and medicinal cannabis is now being legalised once again in progressive countries. Not only does it make sense for the wellbeing and health of the nations, but also the global economy.

Although Spain decriminalised the recreational use of cannabis long before other nations, they appear less progressive than their European counterparts. While there is much progress, there are many countries with futile laws preventing those who need access to medicinal cannabis from legally obtaining it.

Thomas Bruan, nine, recently hand-delivered a letter to the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to help get his brother a medicinal cannabis prescription. Since being made legal in England in 2018, according to the BBC, only 3 NHS prescriptions for medicinal cannabis have been issued. If considered an “exceptional clinical need” the NHS can provide a prescription, although rarely is considered, leaving families no option but to spend hundreds of pounds a month on private cannabis treatments.

Although progress has been made, there is much work to be done to help people access the medicinal cannabis they need and are legally entitled to purchase or receive.

Malta legalised medical use in 2018 and amended the Drug Dependence Act to enable medical practitioners to prescribe cannabis.

Portugal made medicinal cannabis legal in 2018 and is now becoming a powerhouse for the production and exportation of medicinal cannabis products.

The Czech Republic has been a pioneer since 2010, where drug decriminalisation is concerned. Cannabis for medicinal use was made legal in 2013; however, like so many countries eager to implement reforms, the prescribing of medicinal cannabis was slow and didn’t start in earnest until 2018. Patient access continues to be restrictive in 2021, although the government appears to be working to improve this.

Spain’s legalisation of medicinal cannabis is promising, although they are just at the beginning stages of considering the therapeutic benefits of cannabis and the evidence surrounding its uses and effectiveness.

Taking an informed approach to the legalisation of medicinal cannabis could speed up the delivery process.

Spain is seemingly taking a proactive and pragmatic approach to their considerations. They will be consulting experts in the field, consulting with other governments and looking at reports from other countries that have previously legalised medicinal cannabis and reviewing their data. The findings will be shared with the Health Commission and the Spanish Congress in a final report.

Spain is already developing the export market of medicinal cannabis by allowing the production and exportation to other countries, which is a positive step. The downside to the length of time the legalisation of medicinal cannabis is taking is that a black market and a club scene has now developed in Spain for those seeking cannabis for medical use and recreational, so the sooner Spain can legalise medicinal cannabis, the better.