The subcommission to study the regulation of the medicinal use of cannabis in Spain has been seen for sentencing. The parliamentary groups have already listened to the more than twenty experts that they summoned to appear in Congress in order to learn about the experiences of other EU countries in this field and also of medical organizations, pharmacists and patient associations that use marijuana to treat their ailments. Now they have until the end of June to agree on the conclusions, basically deciding whether to propose legalization and under what terms.
Over two months, since March 8, 23 people have appeared in five sessions of the subcommission created within the Health Commission as a result of a proposal of the Basque Group. The former was the president of the Spanish Scientific Society for Studies on Alcohol, Alcoholism and other Drug Addictions, and the latter was the Government delegate for the National Plan on Drugs. In between, officials from seven EU countries with ongoing medical cannabis programs, from EU agencies on drugs and medicationsprofessional associations, medical societies, non-governmental organizations and users.
The positions of those appearing have been very diverse, there have been all kinds and colors: some totally in favor of regulating the therapeutic use of cannabis, others completely opposed, others favorable but with more or less limitations, others in favor of a very restricted use to very specific cases, there has been everything, as in pharmacy. But with all that they have heard in these two months, the parliamentary groups must now make their conclusions final, as if it were the end of an oral hearing in a court of law, and agree on a proposal in which they have to address a wide range of circumstances: what kind of products could be prescribed, who would prescribe them, where they could be administered, for what ailments and diseases, and whether the cultivation of plants for personal or collective use would be allowed in an association of patients, among many others.
Daniel Viondi, spokesman for the socialist group, assured in his speech during the last session of those appearing that the regulation “it is inexorable” although without specifying what scope it will have. “There has to be a consensus” so that “there is legal and medical security”, with control and medical prescription under the supervision of the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) of the Ministry of Health, said the PSOE deputy. In his opinion, the fundamental thing is to debate, within the framework of the EUwhat is the best reference, what is the regulation system that is considered most suitable for implementation in Spain.
“The deputies will reach an agreement sooner rather than later, because the pain does not wait,” said the socialist spokesman, who trusted that the “PP will put next to sanityof the patients, and does not stay hand in hand with the extreme right”, rejecting a consensus agreement in the subcommittee.
Viondi proposed to the members of the subcommittee a final work schedule, according to which the socialist group, as the majority formation in Congress, would send the rest of the groups, before May 30, a document with its proposal of conclusions, to which they could then make contributions until June 10. Subsequently, all the groups would have until the 22nd of that month to try to reach a consensus on a definitive document with the proposals of the subcommittee to be approved in the Health Commission on the 23rd.
The last session of appearances was also the turn of the patients in the subcommittee. She first was the president of the Spanish Observatory of Medicinal Cannabis, Carola Perezwho explained to the deputies the benefits that the therapeutic use of marijuana has brought him to cope with terrible pains who suffers as a result of an accident, an improvement in his health that he experienced after having had very bad experiences with treatments based on opioids and other drugs that were about to end his life.
“Why the evidence of a german doctor does not work for a Spanish patient? Is cancer different in Germany than in Spain? We do not understand that licenses are granted to cultivate near our homes and that we Spanish patients cannot have access to them”, said Carola Pérez in reference to the cultivation authorizations of cannabis for medicinal purposes granted in Spain by the AEMPS, whose production has to be exported entirely to other countries, including Germany, where the therapeutic use of marijuana is regulated, while here it remains prohibited.
Manuel Guzmán, vice president of the Observatory and professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Complutense University, with 200 articles published in international scientific journals on cannabis research, accompanied Carola Pérez in her appearance and, among other things, specified that with the regulation it is not about replace medications already existing, but to add, to complement what already exists, so that patients receive better care, as other countries in Europe and other parts of the world have already done. “You could have a much larger range to treat patients effectively. And we already have a sufficient knowledge to do it,” he added.
“Pain does not wait – the phrase that the socialist spokesman later quoted in his final speech. So, please, let’s focus on relieving the pain of patients. Looking away is not an option“, concluded Carola Pérez.
Also as a user of medical cannabis to relieve ailments caused by multiple sclerosis suffers, and as president of the European Observatory of Cannabis Consumption and Cultivation, Naomi Sanchez explained his experience to the deputies of the subcommittee. Ella Noemi recounted how she still gets goosebumps every time she remembers the changes she experienced from the day she started taking marijuana and she no longer had to lie permanently in bed because of the pain she experienced. she suffered. “Let’s not put morals versus health of people”. “Our experiences are evidence. We cannot wait any longer,” stressed the appearing party.
The president of the European Observatory, a professor at the University of Valencia and a doctorate in Neurosciences, outlined in her speech the conclusions of the II International Cannabis Sativa Congress, which took place on April 11 at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, with the participation of a Twenty associations of patients, medical and nursing professionals, researchers and those responsible for programs for the use of medicinal cannabis in various Latin American countries. Among these conclusions, it stands out that it should be approve “urgently” a medical cannabis law in Spain, due to the urgency of sick people who use it to put an end to the legal and health insecurity they now suffer from, and so that self-cultivation is recognizedboth the staff and the group of associations and social clubs, because, in his opinion, pharmacies cannot be the only means of access to legalized therapeutic marijuana.
In the last session open to those appearing, representatives of the regulatory programs that are being carried out in Portugal, Finland and Portugal also presented their experience. And on that shift, the deputy director of the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products of FranceNatalie Richard, explained that in her country it was launched in March 2021 an essay in which more than 1,600 patients currently participate, who, through medical follow-up, are administer in pharmacies medicines made with cannabis, in oil or vaporized. When the study ends in March 2023, and based on its results, the French administration will have to decide, he added, whether to extend the treatment with medical cannabis and not limit it only to the patients who participated in the trial.
For his part, the president of the National Authority for Medicines and Health Products of Portugal (Infarmed), Rui Santos, detailed the operation of the law that the neighboring country approved in 2018, a rule in which it is established that a doctor must be the one who prescribes cannabis through a recipe to acquire it in a pharmacy, provided that other treatments have not had an effect on the patient. The products must be authorized by Infarmed and self-cultivation as a supply is not allowed.
The subcommittee was established on October 14 within the Health and Consumption Commission and is chaired by the PP parliamentarian Rosa María Romero Sánchez, and is made up of 14 members (3 from the PSOE, 2 from the PP, 2 from United We Can , 2 from Vox, one from PNV, one from the Plural group, one from Ciudadanos, one from ERC and another from Bildu).
The agreement of the Chamber for the constitution of the subcommittee provides that, after listening to experts and representatives of medical cannabis regulation programs that have been launched by other countries, it must issue a report with a perspective of international comparison on “the existing scientific evidence, weaknesses, threats, strengths, opportunities and results of the experiences analyzed”. That report will have to be later forwarded to the government so that it can be used in the regulation of cannabis for medical use in the Spanish State.