Luxembourg’s bid to decriminalise the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes will take one step further on Thursday when parliament discusses bill 7253.
Once passed, Luxembourg will be one of a small number of countries where cannabinoid drugs can be used to treat patients suffering from cancer, sclerosis, neurodegenerative or chronic and painful diseases. The bill outline was presented to MPs in 2017 and analysed in detail by members of the health committee in April.
Under the current proposals, any doctor, including GPs, would be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis provided they had attended a special training. This is an improvement on the original text which confined its prescription to specialists in internal organs, pain treatment, oncologists and neurologists.
Initially, the drugs will be supplied by the Canada Cannabis Agency and available from pharmacies serving the country’s four hospitals. The health ministry will review progress two years after the bill has entered into law to evaluated the number of beneficiaries. It could be that the list of diseases covered in the legal framework will be expanded to include conditions like HIV, pending the review.
The possession, transportation and consumption of cannabis is currently illegal in Luxembourg. However, the health ministry launched a two-year pilot project in November 2017 enabling up to 100 patients to benefit from cannabis-based therapies. A TNS Ilres survey conducted at the beginning of 2018, meanwhile, found that over half the population supported the decriminalisation of cannabis for recreational use and medicinal purposes.