European Cannabis Market News Review

Economy Minister Chris Cardona of Malta announced that three foreign companies were given a letter of intent by Malta Enterprise. This act makes it official for the companies to start production of MMJ in Malta.

Malta cannabis policies

Operations stemming from these three companies are forecasted to generate 118 new jobs, although the Medicine Authority will need to provide clearance for the licensing process. Cardona believes that these developments will contribute positively to Malta’s economy, especially since three other companies expressed interest in pouring foreign direct investments worth €57 million.

The second reading of the debate concluded last Tuesday, although the Opposition still has some qualms about the matter. Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia says “rigorousness” is necessary fro the entire process, not just when the issue is about investments. Delia says that the current bill requires major changes, since it still isn’t acceptable the way it is.

“We are speaking of a specialised sector of medicine which should fall under the health sector, and the way and speed at which this Bill passed seems as if it is being done to accommodate a particular investment,” said Delia. For Nationalist MP Kristy Debono, the Bill is lacks details and is commercially driven. “The law which was presented was too vague for an industry which needs to be heavily regulated. It would have been more appropriate if this Bill was more detailed and the legal notices published for consultation,” she adds. Debono thinks that rushing the Bill’s approval was not the correct approach, requesting for additional discussions with stakeholders.

United Kingdom Cannabis policies

Cannabis remains prohibited in the United Kingdom, classified as a Class B drug where those who are found guilty of possessing it can face up to 5 years in prison plus fines. Considering the progress that cannabis is making throughout Europe and the growing body of research proving the efficacy of cannabis as medicine, the UK still lacks behind with its archaic drug laws.

UK citizens can’t access cannabis despite suffering the same conditions that everyone else does. The story of a young boy named Alfie Dingley has evoked compassion from lawmakers. Dingley, a 6-year-old boy, suffers from epilepsy. Because of his condition, Dingley and his family had to relocate to the Netherlands to obtain cannabis. Unfortunately, due to limited financial resources, the Dingley family was forced to return to the United Kingdom where their son’s medicine is still illegal. The family has petitioned the National Health Services to legally use the oil, without success.

Portugal cannabis policies

In a report sent to the parliamentary committee on health, the Pharmacists’ working group writes, “There is no scientific evidence to prove the efficacy and safety of its use.” The working group, composed of four professional pharmacists, denies the existence of evidence supporting cannabis’s health benefits. They even added that “there is strong evidence that there are safety concerns and toxicological potential.”

Felix Carvalho, who led the group when presenting to the parliamentary committee, is a professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Porto. Carvalo believes that “there are already medicines, whose active substances are cannabinoids, that are authorized in the market for therapeutic use with clinical evidence that supports a positive benefit-to-risk ratio in terms of efficacy and safety.”

“In view of the existence of cannabinoid medicines that meet the current therapeutic needs,” the group sounded off on concerns that cannabis shouldn’t be used as medicine since there is “no added value compared to the drugs already approved.”

They also referred to standard medicinal products already in use in Portugal which contain THC and CBD, “in the improvement of the symptoms related to the muscle stiffness (spasticity) and in multiple sclerosis”. However, advocates of legalization in Portugal point to the fact that cannabis can be used safely as a medicine without needing to swallow pills made by Big Pharma.

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