A Maltese MEP has launched a Europe-wide alliance of policy-makers seeking to promote better understanding over medicinal cannabis and harmonising legislation across Member States.
The group, European Medicinal Cannabis Alliance, was announced by Alex Agius Saliba, with a number of other MEPs like Poland’s Robert Biedroń, Italy’s Brando Benifel and Belgium’s Maria Arena already on board.
The European Medicinal Cannabis Alliance was launched on World Cancer Day.
In a letter inviting all MEPs to join the alliance, the group noted that though medicinal cannabis is “increasingly being used more frequently to treat patients with various conditions”, any progress is being “slowed” due to different regulations over use of the plant across the EU’s 27 Member States.
“An effort to standardise legislation across the board would in turn help to tackle other elements which are linked together to this issue,” the MEPs said in the letter. They noted that different legislations were leading to major variance in prices as well as some countries becoming more susceptible to finding the medicine out of stock.
“Harmonisation of the legislation will also be tackling these added problems which all see the different standards of legislation as root of cause,” they said.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, Agius Saliba explained that it was time for the concerns of Europe’s medical cannabis patients to be heard.
“Today, on World Cancer Day, we are launching the Alliance for Medical Cannabis. An initiative that I have been coordinating for the past months with several MEPs from different political groups,” he said.
“The Alliance will be dealing with patients’ rights, harmonisation of EU legislation when it comes to market access and also research and innovation. It’s high time that we give full access to medical cannabis patients who as we speak are still being treated as second class patients,” he continued.
“Our priority is that of reducing prices and increasing access by harmonisation of standards at EU level.”
Malta legalised medicinal cannabis back in 2018.
The legalisation of the plant for medicinal purposes had a rocky start, with fears over patients’ driving licenses being taken as part of use of the plant. However, nearly three years on, and the medicine has become much more normalised and accepted on the island, with more and more patients being prescribed it as doctors become more aware of its medicinal uses.