Labour MEP Alex Agius Saliba, together with his colleagues from S&D has launched EU Medicinal cannabis cross-party alliance.
The objectives of the alliance are to harmonise the standards of medicinal cannabis across EU states.
Malta issued the first licence for the production of medicinal cannabis in December.
“A lot of cancer patients are awaiting their medicinal cannabis treatment and are facing obstacles every day,” Agius Saliba said.
Medicinal cannabis is being increasingly used to treat patients with various conditions, and science is showing encouraging results, he said.
But progress in its use is being slowed down by different regulations and conditions in each of the 27 states. “These stark differences make it much harder to cooperate and move forward together for the benefit of our citizens”, he said.
Cannabis-based medicinal products will still have to be authorised before they are placed on the market to ensure quality, safety and efficacy.
However, in the absence of requests for marketing authorisation, member states needed to grant access to medicinal cannabis to patients, on the basis of a prescription, which can entail a variety of administrative hurdles.
A "harmonised approach" to a legalised and regulated medicinal cannabis market will improve patients’ fair access to cannabis-based medicines, Agius Saliba said.
“Unfortunately, we are currently in a situation where diverging standards lead to much higher prices and lack of availability of products in certain states. We have to make sure that medicinal cannabis is affordable to all our citizens,” he said.
He also called for a more open dialogue with medicinal cannabis patients to establish a sustainable and environmentally conscious medicinal cannabis sector in all EU states.
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