Spain’s 6-month overdue medical cannabis regulation expected imminently
The Spanish Pain Society (SED) has ‘demanded’ that the government deliver on its promise to regulate medical cannabis during its XIX National Congress, according to Dario Pharma.
This comes amid new concerns that last weeks’ local and regional elections, which painted a worrying picture for the Socialist Party’s prospects in the upcoming parliamentary elections in July, could mean the bill is under threat of being scrapped entirely.
Weeks before the demands were made, the Spanish government at last acknowledged the delays to the now long overdue medical cannabis regulation, suggesting that a report will be presented this week.
In his first appearance before the Health Commission of the Lower House earlier this month, José Manuel Miñones, the Spanish Health Minister, apologised for the six-month delay in publishing the regulatory framework.
After Spain’s congress gave the green light for medical cannabis to be rolled out, the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) was given the task of publishing proposals for how medical cannabis could be worked into the country’s existing health framework by the end of 2022.
Business of Cannabis has reported on the subsequent delays on multiple occasions, with the government initially remaining tight-lipped as to the reasons behind the delay.
Then in March, during his first appearance as the newly appointed Health Minister, Mr Miñones responded to heated questions regarding the delay, stating that ‘unfortunately… the information is insufficient, and we cannot recommend its use. We must go hand in hand with scientific evidence to balance benefit and risk. We continue to work on it.’
Following this ‘regression’ in stance, Mr Miñones said on May 10, 2023 that he promised to present a report which will regulate the use of cannabis in the Spanish National Health System (SNS) by the end of the month.
“It is not a matter of bad faith on the part of this Ministry but rather an excess of zeal,” he said.
Amsterdam enforces public smoking ban
Smoking cannabis in public in Amsterdam’s De Wallen district, better known as the Red Light District, is now officially forbidden for both tourists and local residents following an overwhelming vote from the city council.
While public consumption was never officially legalised in the city, from May 25, 2023 authorities are expected to begin cracking down on the activity as local residents continue their campaign to reduce nuisance tourism.
The municipality’s General Local Bye-Laws will now grant authorities the powers to issue fines of €100 to anyone who continues smoking in public after previously being warned.
This marks the latest development in a long-running effort by local residents to tackle the ‘grim atmosphere’ brought about by intoxicated tourists, with many stating they are ‘structurally and excessively bothered by the crowds and nuisance caused by mass tourism and substance abuse in the public space’.
In a statement published by the local council on February 9, a number of new measures were proposed to tackle these issues, including stopping cannabis being smoked outdoors with the potential to extend this to ‘terraces at coffeeshops’ if the ‘nuisance does not decrease enough’ via the initial measures.
These followed additional initiatives introduced last year, including the introduction of hosts and hostesses, one-way traffic during busy periods and the banning of drinking on the streets.
According to local media, the smoking ban was voted on by local councillors earlier this month with a ‘large majority of the city council’ voting in its favour, and no parties supporting a motion to make exceptions for local residents.
Lithuania moves towards decriminalisation
The Seimas, Lithuania’s parliament, has now approved the National Agenda on drug, tobacco and alcohol control; consumption prevention and harm reduction until 2035.
It is understood that the 12-year proposals include measures which would see the possession, acquisition, storage and transportation of small amounts of cannabis decriminalised.
According to Lithuanian news publication LRT, the Seimas did not support a group of parliamentarians’ push to delete the decriminalisation proposals from the bill.
As Business of Cannabis reported last month, under the proposals anyone found with small amounts of cannabis would be issued with a warning, and a fine of between €50 and €300, rather than receive criminal penalties.
The bill consists of six key targets, which include delaying the use of psychoactive drugs, while managing their risk and providing access to quality treatment for addiction.
The document recommends that municipalities prepare and implement control, consumption prevention and damage reduction measures.
Luxembourg published cannabis legalisation proposals
Earlier this month, Luxembourg’s Health and Justice ministries published their long-awaited proposals for an adult-use cannabis legalisation pilot project.
In April, Luxembourg’s Minister of Health, Paulette Lenert, informed local news that she was confident a draft law would be submitted to the government council in the near future, following a two-year effort to drag the proposals across the line.
Said proposals, dubbed Experimental Device for Legal Access to Cannabis for Non-Medical Purposes, have now been published.
Under the suggested framework, local citizens will be allowed to possess up to 3g of cannabis, and grow up to four plants at home.
In an effort to retain the promise of a fully fledged commercial market, the proposals also call for the establishment of a retail market in which residents would be allowed to purchase up to 30g a month, with a maximum of 5g per day, though it is understood this will be part of a second phase of measures.
The draft framework has now reportedly been submitted for review by four international experts, including Transform’s policy analyst Steve Rolles.