Spain refuses to encourage a homegrown market

Published Oct 17, 2020 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Roberto Fernandez Garcia

Cannabis patients living in Spain can only dream of the day that they will have access to homegrown cannabis, which helps many who live in other countries to improve their quality of life. Spain has numerous medical cannabis licensed producers that could be beneficial to its citizens. However, a member of parliament in Spain indicates that this kind of freedom is not in the foreseeable future.

The international medical cannabis market's views are not unique to only Spain. The global cannabis markets are anxious to capitalize on exports but are turning the cheek to the development of a domestic medical industry. However, experts believe that such a model could prove unsustainable for businesses due to the medical cannabis market's uncertainty, and that could leave Spain’s government no other choice but to change their minds

Criteria

The criteria used today in Spain to authorize medications will also be used for creating a medical cannabis program. The Spanish government states that the therapeutic use of marijuana must align with other medicines for which efficacy, safety, and quality must be established through controlled clinical trials. Some of the approved cannabis-derived or related medications that are currently for sale in Spain include:

  • GW Pharmaceuticals Sativex and Epidiolex
  • Nabilone
  • Dronabinol

Although the Spanish government repeatedly cites the lack of evidence as the reason for Spain not having a medical cannabis program. As of September, the (AEMPS) or Spanish Agency of Medicines and Medical Devices website indicated that the following companies were now authorized to produce cannabis for a scientific and medical purpose:

  • Linneo Health
  • Canamo y Fibras Naturales
  • Medical Plants
  • Medalchemy
  • Oils4cure

These companies are not the only scientific companies listed, and currently, Linneo Health flower is available under different brand names in both Israel and Germany.

What is available to Spaniards

The Spanish Medicinal Cannabis Observatory's president, Carola Perez, wants the Spanish government to permit medicinal cannabis sales to local patients. She notes that the Spanish government continues to grant production licenses and allows exports but blocks patients who need medical cannabis access in their own country, saying there that there is a lack of evidence to recommend its generalized medicinal use to everyone.

Spain has allowed both medical and recreational cannabis to float in a grey space, resulting in many patients choosing to either grow their cannabis plants or join a non-profit cannabis club that provides medical cannabis for treating their health conditions. Absolutely no one can use cannabis in public while in Spain.

With Spain not supporting a medical marijuana program, Catalonia remains the only community in Spain to legalize medicinal and recreational cannabis. However, Catalonia’s legalization allows patients the ability to purchase as much medical weed as they need. Recreational users here has a limit that is set each month. The actions that are illegal in Spain surrounding cannabis but not in Catalonia include:

  • Public consumption
  • Cultivation of cannabis in public sight
  • Possession of medical or recreational cannabis
  • Purchasing of cannabis

Interestingly, the number of cannabis clubs in the region where medical cannabis can be purchased by registering as a non-profit and charging a membership fee to cover the cost of patients marijuana is in the 800's. Could this perhaps have a bearing on these clubs' popularity and why Catalonia has opted to legalize cannabis?

Green Drone gifts hundreds of free bags of weed to citizens of Israel

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