NEWS BRIEF

France urged to act on medical cannabis after falling ‘alarmingly behind’

A French parliamentary committee is urging the government to publish a decree needed to initiate a delayed medical cannabis experiment as industry and patient advocates say the country is falling behind in implementation.

The appeal was made in a document that was unanimously supported by the parliamentary committee.

The document emphasizes the need to establish the budget needed to carry out the experiment.

In October 2019, Benjamin-Alexandre Jeanroy, CEO of Augur Associates, a Paris-based marijuana consultancy firm, alerted Marijuana Business Daily about the importance of the budget, saying “it’s very important that funding for the medical cannabis experiment is now integrated into this process.”

France’s legislators approved the experiment almost a year ago.

But without meaningful implementation, the situation for patients in need of medical marijuana has not changed.

Once the experiment starts, 3,000 patients could benefit from the program.

Robin Reda, a member of the French National Assembly and president of the committee that wrote the report, said in an interview with Le Parisien that France “has fallen alarmingly behind its European neighbors” when it comes to medical cannabis.

Reda told the newspaper the ongoing pandemic only partially explains why implementation of the program has failed to make meaningful progress.

“The bulk of the technical work was done before the health crisis,” Rada said.

Rada said the program is currently in “an incomprehensible bureaucratic blockage” and that “the government is no longer moving forward with the subject.”

The member of the French National Assembly also told Le Parisien that, “in the event of experimentation, we will be dependent on products purchased abroad, particularly in North America.”

However, he added, France should develop its own medical cannabis industry, fostering in-country production.

Augur’s Jeanroy told MJBizDaily that “another version of the parliamentary committee report is expected in early 2021, which will also include wellness and adult-use dimensions.”

Earlier this month, about 50 doctors, scientific and patient associations expressed concern about a lack of implementation for the program in an op-ed in Le Parisien.

They urged the government to implement the experiment so treatment for those in need could start in the first quarter of 2021.

The leading signatory of the op-ed was Nicolas Authier, the president of the scientific committee of the French Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM), which is in charge of designing and implementing the medical experiment.

Alfredo Pascual can be reached at [email protected]

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