Is Belgium Thinking Green On the Legalization of Medical Cannabis?

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Is Belgium Thinking Green On the Legalization of Medical Cannabis?

*As contributed by Natalie Gray for Cannabis Magazine

Belgium is thinking green in line to legalize the cultivation of cannabis seeds for medicinal purposes. Last February 26, 2019, the parliamentary committee of health passed a bill for the endowment of a government-controlled cannabis agency. This agency is to manage and control the breeding and sales of medical cannabis.

Currently, Belgium prohibits the cultivation of cannabis seeds even for medicinal or scientific purposes. The government bureau which is to be formed is to regulate all the planting and trade of medicinal cannabis.

“There is enough scientific evidence to show that cannabis has medicinal properties that can reduce the symptoms of a disease like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,” Christian Democratic and Flemish parliamentarian Els Van Hoof.

The Waves of Global Medicinal Cannabis

In the waves of expanding global objective consent on the positive medicinal effects of cannabis, Belgian lawmakers have presented proposed legislation, in which, if approved, would secure the use of cannabis for medical purposes legal.

A Cannabis Function will be formed within the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products. The Cannabis Function will be in charge of the legal production of medical cannabis securing a monopoly for the Belgian State on the cultivation, trade, import and export of cannabis product. Some other European Union member states already have supported a similar legislative program such as the Netherlands.

Following the endowment of the Cannabis Function, a proposal for tenders will be assigned for the cultivation of a settled amount of cannabis. Licenses will be awarded to the successful candidates to cultivate cannabis in designated locations. The Cannabis Function will purchase the product and export and/or distribute it.

The Production and Marketing Of Medical Cannabis Products

The production method will be subject to strict measures. For example, the cannabis will need to have a constant concentration of the active ingredient as well as a stationary ratio of the main active components such as cannabidiol (CBD) and the main psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

“The approval of this bill is an important first step in the right direction. Soon licensed players will be able to grow cannabis in a legal way,”— Anton Buntinx of Corbus Advocaten

“With the establishment of this cannabis agency, Belgium is following other countries that are already active on the market for the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal use. Belgium jumps on the bandwagon of the ever-growing market for legal cannabis cultivation for medical use.”

“The Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products can thus organize the cultivation of cannabis in Belgium, without liberalizing the market.” — The Belgian law firm specializes in the developing market for the cultivation and distribution of seedsman cannabis proposed for medicinal and scientific purposes.

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Economic Impact

Legalizing cannabis could produce up to 144 million euros for the Belgian State. A report citing research by the Groupe du Vendredi, a group of experts recommended by the King Baudouin Foundation. Groupe du Vendredi has viewed public spending—funds spent by the state on exercises linked to cannabis to be 223.9 million per year.

The group brought out an analysis of the prevailing condition in Belgium, called “Cannaconomics”, which covered the impact of decriminalization on public investments, according to three situations.

The first was legalization with record management, where the state powers production, distributes licenses for marketing and fixes the price, would generate a margin of 144 million euros.

In another plot, simple decriminalization— lifting the prohibition on cannabis consumption, but not on sales and production. This condition would result in a decrease in public spending by 42.8 million for the State.

Finally, a competing exchange where private companies are free to set the volume produced would create a margin of 78.4 million for the State.

The Different Approach

“The mistake that is often made is that the authorization of medicinal cannabis is equated with legalizing cannabis. That is definitely not the same. Therapeutic use of cannabinoids is, therefore, a better term than medicinal cannabis. This indicates that these are products that have undergone a scientific evaluation and clinical tests and are recognized as medicines. This can in no way lead to the legalization of drugs….

… Some patients “already use cannabis oil, which they obtain from abroad, but the oil is banned here, so its importation is also illegal,”— Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V) parliamentarian Mrs. Els Van Hoof.

About three years after the permission of cannabis-based sprays in Belgium, the Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V) party is requesting for the medicinal use of marijuana to be widened.

The move arrives more than three years following the first cannabis-based medicine became authorized and reimbursable in Belgium for some multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. If doctors require to prescribe medicinal cannabis to their patients for pain relief, or the remedy for nausea and diminished appetite during chemotherapy, further regulatory developments will be required.

The CD&V wants the law to be broadened in two ways. That needs cannabis oil to be made legal for individuals with multiple sclerosis and kids with certain types of epilepsy. It also requires authorization for ALS patients to use a cannabis-based spray legalized since 2015 under strict circumstances.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Natalie Gray is a Biochemical Engineer. She works in the Research and Development team that focuses on the design and construction of unit processes. She is a recreational marijuana supporter and her love for organic chemistry brought her to medical cannabis. She grows her own flowers, working on different projects and study everything above and under cannabis roots.

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