The new US administration may not be happy about slackening cannabis laws. Maybe you noticed that from the news and the 420 Pony Twitter feed. There is good news from Ireland and Sweden, however! These countries recently took action to empower doctors to prescribe medical marijuana.
Let’s take a closer look at the cannabis culture in these two countries to give us some hope. What do these developments mean for the future of pot in Europe?
Swedish Cannabis Culture
Sweden is largely in the throws of Reefer Madness. For example, the government sees cannabis as a hard drug. Many Swedish people also agree. Little distinction is given between marijuana, cocaine, and heroin for instance.
Actually, the country has a reputation for busting high profile musicians and celebrities known to smoke weed. Sweden made trouble for Snoop Dogg in July of 2015 and the star was so unhappy it went viral. Paul McCartney also fell victim to Sweden’s harsh cannabis laws in 1972. These are only two examples; it’s a trend.
Legalization isn’t likely anytime soon, but there are some positive recent developments in terms of medical marijuana in Sweden.
Recent History of Medical Marijuana In Sweden
A court case in 2012 involving Andreas Thörn gained a lot of publicity. Thörn uses medical marijuana to treat injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident over a decade earlier. Cannabis soothes his neuropathic pain and helps him manage anxiety and depression.
Unfortunately, Swedish authorities arrested Thörn anyway and charged him. First, he successfully argued the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. The prosecution appealed, however, and Thörn was ultimately fined 11,700 crowns for using cannabis in Sweden. That’s about $1,400 USD.
Medical Marijuana Progress In Sweden
The Local reported in mid February, however, that two patients are cleared for medical marijuana use in Sweden. This comes after a ruling on these two specific cases by the MPA. The MPA is the country’s Medical Products Agency.
This ruling is the result of applications filed by doctors seeking permission to prescribe edible cannabis to patients. The two patients in question will obtain cannabis from a Dutch company that historically supplies cannabis for testing and research.
This is clearly a small step toward a greater understanding of the cannabis plant in Sweden.
Cannabis Culture In Ireland
The government in Ireland isn’t exactly cannabis friendly, either. While there is encouraging cannabis news developing since December in the country, the administration is still cautious. For instance, they continue to site a lack of evidence and how to balance out increasing patient demand. Therefore, it seems the progress is tentative.
Thankfully, a door only needs to be unlocked to allow entry.
In this case, that door is a bill the Irish legislature passed in late 2016 allowing doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients. The list of conditions the bill addresses includes chronic pain, nausea, MS, and cancer.
The Irish Health Products Regulatory Authority now ‘cautiously advises’ cannabis use under restricted conditions. Additionally, Ireland’s Minister for Health is supportive. Simon Harris is the country’s Health Minister and he spoke with The Guardian to share his optimistic prognosis for the future.
Harris told The Guardian, “I believe this report marks a significant milestone in developing policy in this area. This is something I am eager to progress but I am also obligated to proceed on the basis of the best clinical advice.”
Hopefully at this rate Ireland will soon be the land of green for a whole new reason.
Medical Marijuana As A Gateway
Will legal recognition of medical marijuana be a gateway to recreational legalization? It’s impossible to say for sure. However, research will increase now that doctors can prescribe cannabis. Hopefully, this will continue to prove that cannabis is overwhelmingly safe and beneficial for a variety of conditions.
Those of us who receive relief from cannabis understand how this gentle but powerful plant can heal.
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