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Medical cannabis to be prescribed by GPs under new legislation

Debate expected shortly in Parliament

Parliament will soon begin discussing legislation on the use of medicinal cannabis, Health Minister Chris Fearne said today.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Fearne said he would be submitting an amendment to the 2015 Drug Dependence Act.

READ: Cabinet approves medical cannabis

Mr Fearne told reporters that during the last legislature the government had introduced a law for the use of cannabis-derived products for medicinal purposes.

Although the law had followed a long period of consultation, medical professionals had complained that it only allowed specialists to prescribe cannabis extracts registered in the Medicines Act - a narrow selection.

The law, he said, specified that every medicine prescribed must have been approved by the local medicines authority or the EU's medicines watchdog.

Video: Elisa LemarchandVideo: Elisa Lemarchand

“In these two years, we found that despite the requests by patients and doctors alike, in practice the 2015 law involved too much bureaucracy and many could not get access to the medicinals they needed.”  

Once the new amendment is approved, doctors would still need to issue a prescription, but there would be no need to go to a specialist.

“No products prescribed by a doctor can be used for smoking, and these products can only be purchased from a pharmacy using a control card,” he said, adding that importation would also only be allowed for licensed importers.

Mr Fearne said Economy Minister Chris Cardona would be putting forward proposals to allow manufacturers to start producing the medicinals in Malta.

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