Obstacles to Medical Cannabis Access Persist in Greece
A Greek Member of the European Parliament is calling on the European Commission to introduce laws that would standardize access to medical cannabis across Europe. Stelios Kouloglou, the MEP in question, has made previous attempts to address this issue, including a formal inquiry to the European Parliament in January 2022.
In his earlier communication, Kouloglou pointed out that while many EU countries have legalized medical cannabis and related prescription drugs, there's a lack of uniformity. He noted that the European Parliament recognized the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis, possibly even for COVID-19. He also mentioned that since 2017, Greece has regulated the cultivation and production of medicinal cannabis products with more than 2% THC content. However, he highlighted a significant hurdle: the Greek government's 2021 ban on importing such products, leaving patients to rely on unregulated sources.
Kouloglou questioned whether this situation breaches the principles of fair competition and the European Medicines Regulatory System, and how the Commission could assist Greek patients in legally accessing their treatments.
In a more recent query, Kouloglou reiterated the global acceptance of medical cannabis, endorsed by the WHO and the European Parliament, which urged authorities to overcome regulatory obstacles and support research. He criticized the Greek government's 2021 import ban for contravening the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and fostering a monopoly that leads to unfair market practices. This ban, he argued, has driven patients towards the black market for their medical needs.
Kouloglou is inquiring about the Commission's plans to tackle medicine shortages and unfair competition caused by national policies that hinder the free movement of goods. He's advocating for an EU-wide legal framework to regulate medical cannabis comprehensively, aiming to eliminate the black market, ensure product quality, and guarantee safe, legal access to these treatments.
Kouloglou's efforts underscore the challenges faced not just by Greece but by many European countries in harmonizing laws related to medical cannabis. Achieving a coherent policy across Europe is crucial for the industry's growth and, importantly, for the well-being of patients relying on medical cannabis.
Source: International CBC