According to the newly-born European Medicinal Cannabis Association (EUMCA), businesses across Europe should adopt the good practices being implemented by Germany in their medical marijuana industry.
EUMCA was established recently, and it is taking its first stride in the Brussels bubble by advocating for a medical marijuana regulatory framework that could be implemented by the EU member states.
Although medical marijuana is well developed in some of the EU member countries, only standards that cut across all the EU member states can ensure that patients across Europe access the same rules.
EUMCA said that having different laws governing the prescribing of marijuana-related medicine across the EU member countries could result in a problem when patients are traveling abroad and need to access treatment.
The secretary general of EUMCA, Sita Schubert, said that the primary goal of the association is to inform the national and EU institutions of the potential of medical marijuana treatment.
The reason why most doctors are cautious around medical marijuana is the lack of clinical trials. However, Schubert said that most often, health professionals and legislators are just not familiar with medical marijuana.
The socialist MEP, Miriam Dalli, said that investors need a robust EU regulatory framework that would assure them of stability and give suffering patients peace of mind.
According to Schubert, the German regulatory approach provides a quality and safe market for the marijuana-based products produced in the country.
The German parliament approved legislation that allowed patients easy access to marijuana products for therapeutic purposes in January, 2017.
Patients registered to receive medical cannabis treatment were 1000 before the changes in the law, but after the law was approved, the number of patients increased to 142,000 in Germany.
The National Cannabis Association in Germany, Deutscher Hanfverband (DHV), estimates that the number of patients on health insurance receiving medical marijuana treatment is approximately 50,000-60,000, and this makes Germany the third-largest market for medical marijuana products.
Several European countries such as Malta, Czech Republic, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK have developed policies giving patients fair access to medical cannabis.
In 2018, the statutory health insurance providers in Germany reported revenue of close to €70 million ($77.5 million) for medical marijuana products. However, EUMCA argues that without a regulatory framework that cuts across the EU, some demand for medical cannabis in Europe could be unmet. The association also noted that the drug is both life-changing and life-saving.
According to the EMCDDA (EU Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction), patients’ interest in cannabinoids to treat several medical conditions has been on the rise in the past 20 years. These medical conditions include anxiety disorders, pain, cancer, depression, insomnia, and neurological disorders.
EUMCA warned that when the patients are denied access, they can access treatment through the black market, where no regulators are overseeing the quality and safety standards of the products. Before being distributed, medical marijuana must be produced and tested under the European GMP as well as practicing good distribution practices, such as certification for warehousing and distribution.
EUMCA is open to working with big companies (Tilray and Pinaxia) and small companies (Cannaflos) to get medical marijuana to the level of the EU.
Schubert said that marijuana companies should speak using one ethical voice. She further said that since the future of medical marijuana is set, people with the same medical marijuana ethics should join the EUMCA.
It is believed that this level of advocacy is appealing to cannabis industry players like The Green Organic Dutchman Ltd. (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) and SinglePoint Inc. (OTCQB: SING) in North America who want to see uniform standards become a reality here as well.
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