Polish President Andrzej Duda signed the country’s medical cannabis bill into law yesterday. Poland is now the eighth European Union member nation to legalize medical marijuana, joining the Czech Republic, Finland, Spain, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands and, most recently, Greece.
Under pressure from the 78% of its citizens who support legalizing marijuana, Poland’s Lower House of Parliament passed the proposed legislation by an overwhelming 440-2 margin.
Cannabis reform in Poland has moved swiftly ever since. In early July, Poland’s Health Care Committee made recommendations to government officials encouraging them to go ahead with legalization. This approval laid the pathway for President Duda to sign the law.
Details of the Law
Automatic qualifying conditions include MS, epilepsy, chronic pain, and nausea and vomiting brought on by cancer treatment. However, the law intentionally does not impose any restrictions on the conditions for which marijuana may be prescribed, allowing doctors freedom to recommend cannabis anytime traditional therapies have failed or if research supports its efficacy.
Medical cannabis will be dispensed through pharmacies and will be available to those with a doctor’s prescription as soon as it is available by import. Permitted products will include raw cannabis, tinctures, resin, and extracts.
In conjunction with the passing of this new law, the government established the Polish Institute of Cannabis to begin educating doctors, pharmacists, and end users about medicinal cannabis. MP Piotr Liroy-Marzec, one of the authors of the bill, told Marijuana.com, in an interview, “The Polish Institute of Cannabis will be starting right now. Education on cannabis is what Poland needs, for the doctors, judges, and pharmacists.”
Mr. Liroy-Marzec, a strong advocate for cannabis throughout the process, has vowed to continue to work towards more liberal laws including allowing patients to grow for personal use, and to pursue full legalization for recreational use.
With the legalization of marijuana in Poland, approximately 70% of the European Union now has access to legal medical marijuana. The new law will officially take effect by October 1st of this year.