Macedonia has become the latest nation to legalize medical marijuana, with the first medicines becoming available by the end of May.

Health Minister Nikola Todorov has stated that the program will serve those who are, “suffering from serious illnesses, such as malignant diseases, multiple sclerosis, HIV and childhood epilepsy.”

Polling has shown that Macedonians support medical marijuana, with 70 in favor of using cannabis for medicinal purposes. In contrast, only 34 percent were in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes.

Since Macedonia took a legislative approach to legalizing medical marijuana, the ministry held a public debate back in November so citizens could voice their concerns. Once cancer patient described his experience of using black market cannabis to treat his lymphoma.

“I had a lymphoma cancer. I was using the [cannabis] oil and I got cured and I know several other examples like mine… The cause for unsuccessful treatments lies in the low quality of marijuana being sold on the black market, which is normal when medical marijuana is illegal,”

said Filip, a man from Skopje.

Marija Darkovska Serafimova, the head of the State Pharmacological Bureau which regulates medications throughout the country, admitted that “there is some research that indicates that the use of cannabis products helps,” but did not seem to think the data was conclusive. However, she did recognize the importance of regulated medical cannabis.

“Legalization would allow patients to get cannabis with a verified and standardized quality,”

she said.

Macedonia is now the 14th country in the European Union to legalize medical marijuana.

kristin kloc

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