The Czech Patient Association for Cannabis Treatment (KOPAC) organized the first-ever educational cannabis seminars for medical professionals, patients, and the general public. The aim of the event, which took place last month, was to spread knowledge about the medical potential of cannabis the plant among doctors, nurses, and patients who may benefit from its use. The central European country legalized medical cannabis on paper more than three years ago, but as a practical matter it’s still widely unavailable to patients. The seminars took place in the city of Olomouc and in the Czech capital Prague, with lectures by a government adviser, a patient, and a manager of one of the handful of pharmacies that dispense cannabis to patients. Currently fewer than 20 pharmacies across the country offer medical cannabis.
Cannabis activists managed to attract the attention of new deputy Minister of Health Krzystof Łandą, meeting with him at the end of June to discuss the possible benefits of medical cannabis for Polish patients. According to Jakub Gajewski, director of Polish legalization group Wolne Konopie, the new conservative government is doing a number of things that cannabis activists don’t agree with, although the deputy minister does seem to be more open to easing cannabis restrictions than his predecessor. It’s even possible Poland could begin cultivation cannabis for export to other countries. A new drug policy project demanding a parliamentary discussion about medical cannabis was launched last month. If the aim of at least 100,000 signatures is reached, parliament will be forced to debate the subject.
An inaugural medical cannabis conference took place in the Hungarian capital of Budapest on June 1, demonstrating the growing interest in the therapeutic use of the plant among central European countries. Experts from the U.S., the Czech Republic, and Israel shared their experiences with the audience and discussed possible ways of folding cannabis treatments into mainstream medicine.
Croatia made world news at the beginning of June with the announcement of the first-ever import from North America to the European Union of cannabis extracts containing THC and other cannabinoids. Medical experts welcomed the agreement between Canadian company Tilray and the Croatian government. Still, some activists and patients have called the groundbreaking deal unnecessary, pointing out that Croatians are perfectly capable of growing their own cannabis for medicinal purposes and don’t need to import extracts from overseas. [Editor’s note: Tilray and Leafly are both owned by Privateer Holdings.]
June saw a number of patient and activist demonstrations as more and more people in the Balkan countries discover the therapeutic effects of the plant, especially of cannabis oil made according to the Rick Simpson method. https://www.leafly.com/learn/consume/smoke
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Health Minister Nikola Todorov announced June 13 that pharmacies can now sell cannabis extracts without prescription. But there’s a catch: Extracts may not contain over 0.2 percent THC. The change will nevertheless ease restrictions on high-CBD concentrates.
Thirty-six members of Parliament from the Syriza government party have officially asked Health Minister Panagiotis Kouroumblis to revise current laws in order to allow the legalization of medical cannabis products that contain THC.