European Union Parliament Hosts Medical Cannabis Conference

   

Support for medical cannabis has skyrocketed across the globe in recent years as poll after poll has revealed a supermajority of voters favoring medical marijuana. In yet another sign of the mainstream support of medical use, the European Parliament recently hosted the International Conference on Medical Cannabis in Brussels, Belgium. Prominent European doctors, researchers, advocates and politicians spoke at the conference, advocating for sensible cannabis laws to be implemented across the EU.

Leafly reported on the conference:

Lying on an adjusted hospital bed, Dr. Franjo Grotenhemen, chairman of the International Association for Cannabinoids in Medicine (IACM), gave an insightful update on recent developments in Germany. “The German government has prepared a bill,” he said. “It was forced by court decisions to do this. But as a political leader, you say: ‘I was not forced, I changed my mind.’ So the politicians changed their mind in all German parties, that patients should have access to cannabis products if they need them.”

Most speakers focused on patients needs and the incredible results seen with cannabis treatment, but some also brought up legalization’s economic benefits. Saul Kaye, an Israeli pharmacist and cannabis activist, painted a picture of how his country benefits from its medical cannabis program, the oldest in the world. “For regulators in the room,” he said, “it’s no longer a question of if, it’s now a question of how and when you do it. Every decision you make has an implication in the value chain that you can create. This is an industry that is exploding worldwide, an industry that will make a lot of money and that is the driver. What you need to consider is whether you want to be part of that new initiative or whether you want to block it.”

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In his closing remarks, a German member of the European Parliament, Stefan Eck, took a clear and strong position. “For 5,000 years, cannabis has been used for medical purposes, and in my opinion it is now time to legalize cannabis for medical purposes in the EU as well. I believe that, as soon as possible, we should at least implement a Europe-wide legalization of cannabis for medical purposes. This is the minimum. And we should always keep in mind that the ban on cannabis is absolutely illogical as long as other substances, like nicotine and alcohol, are allowed. I would like to thank you for taking part in this important conference and close by saying unequivocally: Legalize it!”

It is great to see such progress across the globe, and we look forward to helping the momentum for the international movement when the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) heads to Berlin, Germany, April 10-12, 2017. With medical cannabis legal through German dispensaries, Berlin seeking to legalize cannabis coffeeshops and German politicians like Stefan Eck fighting for legalization, Germany is certainly helping lead the way in the European Union. If the EU legalizes medical cannabis across the board, then adult-use will follow suit. These are exciting times for the cannabis law reform movement, and while there will be some speed bumps along the way, our progress around the world shows that prohibition’s days are numbered.

This blog was originally published at www.InternationalCBC.com and has been reposted here with special permission. 

Anthony Johnson

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.