A GROUND-BREAKING vote by a committee of the Spanish Parliament has led to the creation of a working group to look into the benefits of medical cannabis.
One of its stated aims is to examine the legal basis and scientific evidence for the implementation of a medical cannabis programme.
To do this it will;
-Analyse the experiences of other governments that have regulated medical cannabis access schemes with the input of foreign government and other experts in the field.
-And, produce a report with proposals for the best practices into the control of medical cannabis in Spain.
The report will be completed and presented by the sub-committee within six months of the initiation of the project and appraised by the Health and Consumer Affairs Commission before being sent for further consideration to the Spanish Congress.
Yesterday’s vote was carried by 20 to 14 after being filed by the Grupo Parlamentario Vasco (Basque Parliamentary Group), with the support of several groups, including the Observatario España de Cannabis Medicinal (Spanish Medicinal Cannabis Observer).
Conor O’Brien, a senior analyst with Prohibition Partners, said: “The creation of the subcommittee represents an important first step in the liberalisation of medical cannabis by the Spanish government.
“This move could open up the path to medical cannabis access in Spain in the coming years. The country currently remains as the largest country in Europe without some form of medical cannabis access.”
In advance of the opening up of medical cannabis access, the Spanish government has allowed for the production and export of medical cannabis products, which have led to the creation of a relatively active market in the country.
Currently, 19 companies are approved to cultivate medical cannabis in the country, with a few companies manufacturing medical cannabis products at commercial scale. Amongst these are some international players, for example Linneo Health, which has exported to Germany in the past; Cafina, owned by Canopy Growth; and Medalchemy, a subsidiary of EMMAC, which was acquired by US giant Curaleaf for €235 million in March of this year.
Cannabis Social Clubs
The legality of personal cultivation and consumption of cannabis has led to the rise of cannabis social clubs in Spain.
According to the latest statistics, the prevalence of cannabis use in Spain sits at around 10% of the adult population, or just under 4 million adult users each year, many of whom are likely using it for medical purposes.
Prohibition Partners estimates that if Spain were to legalise medical cannabis treatment and implement a framework for prescription in 2022, we would expect to see over €60m in annual sales by 2025, with 1,700 kilograms plus of cannabis flower equivalents used to treat over 30,000 patients in that year alone.
While Spain was among the first countries in Europe to decriminalise the personal use of cannabis, regulations on medical cannabis are trailing behind much of western and central Europe.
This is despite the fact that over 90% of the public support the legalisation of medical cannabis in Spain according to a recent survey by the Center for Sociological Research.
@A copy of the official proposal is available here, in Spanish.