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.”
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.