European Parliament calls for uniform definition of medical cannabis

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In a move to get more clarity on what medical marijuana is, the European Parliament passed a resolution Wednesday calling on the European Commission and EU countries to provide a legal definition and draw a clear distinction between cannabis-based medicines approved by regulatory bodies, MMJ not supported by clinical trials and other applications of the plant.

The patchwork of regulations in Europe has been one of the main challenges for firms trying to expand into different markets.

The resolution “emphasizes the need for the standardization and unification of products containing cannabis-based medicines.”

Read the full resolution here. 

The resolution also calls on the commission and national authorities “to address the regulatory, financial and cultural barriers” that have been hindering scientific research.

It also “stresses the importance of close cooperation and coordination with the World Health Organization.”

The WHO recently recommended the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs to reschedule cannabis.

More calls to action by the commission include efforts to:

  • “Establish a network (…) to ensure effective implementation of the strategy for cannabis-based medicines.”
  • “Provide medical professionals with proper medical training.”
  • “Improve equal access to cannabis-based medicines.”
  • “Ensure sufficient availability of cannabis-based medicines.”
  • “Ensure that safe and controlled cannabis used for medicinal purposes can only be in the form of cannabis-derived products that have gone through clinical trials, regulatory assessment and approval.”

The resolution was viewed as a “significant step” by Marie Sanchez, a Paris-based attorney.

In an interview with Marijuana Business Daily, Sanchez noted that this should foster “a more harmonized regulation on medical cannabis.”

But immediate change by member states is not expected because the measure is a call to action, not a binding resolution.

Sanchez said the Parliament-requested clarification would still be useful for “lobbyists and NGOs that advocate for a harmonized legal framework for the medical use of cannabis and cannabis-derived products as a means to remind reluctant member states that they belong to the global EU system and, as such, should take relevant measures to provide equal access to patients.”

Alfredo Pascual can be reached at

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