The use of cannabinoid medications, like dronabinol or nabilone, for medicinal purposes in the treatment of conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and AIDS with a doctor’s prescription is now legal in the Republic of Croatia. The legalization legislation was enacted on Thursday, but medications are not expected to be available for a few weeks.
The decision to legalize the use of synthetic medicinal marijuana medications came after a high-profile case involving a multiple sclerosis patient who was arrested for growing cannabis in his garden near Rijeka. Huanito Luksetic, 37, used the cannabis plants to make oil which he used to treat multiple symptoms of his condition, including pain and muscle spasms. Authorities confiscated 44 pounds of cannabis from Luksetic.
After Luksetic’s arrest made news headlines, other patients and doctors began speaking out in support of the medical efficacy of cannabis and the need for legalization.
“For us, patients, cannabis is one of the most important plants for our lives and health,”
Luksetic said in response to the legalization announcement.
“Everyone should have the right to choice and self-cure.”
Doctors are responsible for prescribing medical marijuana to patients, and the prescriptions are only valid for 30 days at a time. Qualifying patients are limited to 7.5 grams per month. Even after the enactment of the legalization legislation in Croatia, home cultivation remains illegal.
Medical cannabis is not expected to be available in the country’s pharmacies for a few more weeks, but is expected to become available from eight different pharmaceutical companies. Health Minister Sinisa Varga stated,
“According to information that we have from wholesale drugstores, quite a lot of them are interested in importing [cannabis-derived products] to Croatia.”
With this medicinal marijuana announcement, Croatia joins other countries of the European Union, like Spain, Czech Republic, Portugal and the Netherlands which have reformed marijuana policies.