Over the last several years, Europe has become more open-minded about medical and recreational marijuana. Here are some of the latest cannabis developments from the United Kingdom, Germany, Malta and Ukraine.
UK: Online Pharmacies Selling Restricted Drugs Without Proper Checks, GP’s Approval
As many as 20 online pharmacies in the U.K. are selling restricted drugs without robust checks, including GP approval, revealed the BBC in an investigation where it managed to effortlessly purchase more than 1,600 various prescription-only pills by reporting false data.
Thorrun Govind, a pharmacist, health lawyer and former chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said the findings show the “wild west” of buying medicines on the web.
Out of 20 businesses, the outlet identified some 9 nine pharmacies were selling anti-anxiety drugs, three sold these drugs based on answers to an online questionnaire without additional checks. BBC wrote that it was able to acquire a potentially fatal dose of the anti-anxiety medicine. It also obtained painkillers and sleeping meditation from nine and 14 pharmacies respectively.
Some 13 pharmacies that sold at least one of these drugs, refused to sell them without seeing some medical records, proof of prescription, or permission to contact a GP for further safety checks.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society commented saying the situation is “concerning” and that regulators should take action. “We have made it clear that medicines liable to abuse, overuse or misuse, such as opioids and sedatives, should not be sold online unless further safeguards have been put in place,” said a spokesperson.
Germany: Medical Marijuana Associations Are Calling For Easier Access To Medicine
The German federal government has instructed the Joint Federal Committee (G-BA) to change the drug directive regarding the approval requirement for medical marijuana, writes CannabizEu. The goal is to define certain specialist groups and necessary qualifications, removing approval requirements for specific medical professionals.
At the moment, medical marijuana expenses for those under statutory health insurance are only reimbursed if prior approval is given by the health insurance company. This procedure, which is lengthy and bureaucratic for both physicians and patients, end up with approximately 30-40% of applications for cost coverage being denied by insurance companies, making medical marijuana widely inaccessible.
Malta: Cannabis Community Seeks To Increase Limit On Dried Flower, Concerns Around HHC Products
The Malta Cannabis community petitioned the Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis (ARUC) arguing that a 500-gram limit on dried cannabis flower for cannabis harm reduction associations (CHRAs) is “impractical and rigid.”
“This limitation is not only unrealistic but dangerously positions CHRA on the brink of legal infractions, potentially leading to severe penalties, even possible imprisonment for drug trafficking offenses,” the group wrote, as reported by Lovin Malta. The community went on to say that the limit is “grossly inadequate to satisfy the need of the cannabis community in Malta.”
It further called for a reassessment of these limits, highlighting the importance of creating realistic and practical guidelines that answer the community’s needs and the operational capacities of CHRAs.
“Without this, we are not only setting up these associations for failure but also risking their legal standing and the wellbeing of the community they serve,” the community said.
Meanwhile, ARUC recently expressed concerns about the easy access to semi-synthetic cannabinoid products, particularly HHC, which can be found in retail stores and online. The Authority cautioned about the potential risks related to the use of these products, writes Newsbook. It added that the products are not regulated, and they do not occur naturally in the cannabis plant as phytocannabinoids.
Ukraine: Ministry Of Finance Working On Proposals For Hemp Taxation
Ukraine is reviewing the prospect of taxing hemp production, as the Ministry of Finance is working on a proposition for this taxation, writes CannabizEu. The move comes on the heels of medical marijuana legalization in the country.
Danilo Hetmantsev, chairman of the tax committee says hemp could be a lifeline for the Ukrainian budget, but suggested not taxing hemp production in the same way as wheat production. He proposed considering European taxation standards instead.
Photo: Benzinga edit with images by Claudio Schwarz and Brian Jones on Unsplash