History was made in Europe when Croatia became the second European nation to legalize the use of medical cannabis on Thursday, Oct. 15. The ruling came following a strong push after Huanito Luksetic was detained in Rijeka last year for growing cannabis in his garden to make cannabis oil – to ease the pain the suffers from multiple sclerosis.
“For us, patients, cannabis is one of the most important plants for our health and lives,” Luksetic told Agence France-Presse. “Everyone should have the right to choice and self-cure.”
Doctors can prescribe patients medical cannabis up to 7.5 grams per month to ease the health problems associated with AIDS, multiple sclerosis, cancer and epilepsy. It is planned to be available throughout the country in pharmacies in the coming weeks. Right now, eight pharmaceutical companies are the only way to get it.
“According to information we have from wholesale drugstores, quite a lot of them are interested in importing [cannabis-derived products] to Croatia,” Croatian Health Minister Sinisa Varga told AFP.
Recreational cannabis use is still illegal in Croatia, though it has decriminalized possession of small amounts. Previously, it went for anywhere between $340-690 on the black market for 10 grams.
While Croatia is only the fourth nation in Europe to legalize medical cannabis use, four other nations have either decriminalized it fully or legalized it under special circumstances.
The Netherlands has decriminalized up to 5 grams for personal use and allows recreational cannabis use in authorized “coffee shops” only. Spain legalized recreational use in private/closed spaces, public use is still illegal – though, it is decriminalized. Portugal has decriminalized the possession of cannabis, but it still remains illegal. The Czech Republic decriminalized possession up to 10 grams and allows a purchase of 10 grams of medical cannabis for qualified patients. Germany allows medical cannabis under special circumstances and also requires pharmacies to gain special permission in order to sell it. Italy has very strict licensed cultivation for medical and industrial use laws, so while medical marijuana is legal, it’s difficult to obtain due to the negative opinion that remains towards it.
It’s crazy to think there are 24 states in the United States that have legalized medical cannabis, yet only two nations in Europe. With the push for social change in America at an all time high, maybe Europe will see a widespread push for the legalization of cannabis too.