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Medical Marijuana to be in Dutch Pharmacies March 17

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by RMJL, Mar 16, 2003.


    Medical Marijuana to be in Dutch Pharmacies March 17

    Doctors Can Prescribe Immediately;
    Government Preparing to License Growers

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Under a groundbreaking new law effective March 17,
    physicians in the Netherlands will be able to prescribe medical
    marijuana and pharmacies will dispense it to patients as they do other
    prescription medications. This will make the Netherlands the first
    country to treat marijuana in the same manner it treats other
    prescription drugs.

    In order to establish a stable, quality-controlled supply of the
    medicine, the Dutch government will shortly begin contracting with
    medical marijuana growers, who will be required to meet specific
    standards covering product quality, as well as security rules designed
    to prevent diversion into the illegal market. Spokesman Bas Kuik of
    the Dutch government's Office of Medicinal Cannabis said that he
    expects the first contract to be signed "somewhere near the end of
    March," with the first crop reaching pharmacies in September. Once
    this system is in place, pharmacies will be required to dispense only
    medical marijuana from these government-licensed providers. Until
    then, they will be permitted to obtain the medicine from producers of
    their own choosing.

    While the Netherlands is the second nation to formally sanction the
    medical use of marijuana, it is the first to incorporate it in its
    standard system of prescription drug regulation. The Canadian
    government established a medical marijuana program in July 2001, but
    only a limited number of patients have made it through the complex
    permission process. In addition, Canada has yet to provide these
    patients with a legal means of obtaining their medicine, a problem
    that has led to continuing litigation.

    "This is yet another indication of how out-of-step the U.S. is on
    medical marijuana policy," said Robert Kampia, executive director of
    the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "While the
    Netherlands is guaranteeing patients safe access to quality-controlled
    medical marijuana through doctors and pharmacies, we're still fighting
    just to keep people with cancer and AIDS out of jail. Americans like
    Ed Rosenthal face up to 40 years in federal prison for providing the
    same service to patients that the government of the Netherlands is
    ensuring through licensed producers and pharmacies. The rest of the
    world increasingly regards the U.S. policy of criminalizing medical
    marijuana patients and providers as cruel and pointless."

    The Dutch Office of Medicinal Cannabis can be reached by telephone
    at 011-31-70-340-5129. The new Dutch law and implementation
    regulations can be viewed at .

    With 11,000 members nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the
    largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP
    works to minimize the harm associated with marijuana -- both the
    consumption of marijuana and the laws that are intended to prohibit
    such use. MPP believes that the greatest harm associated with
    marijuana is imprisonment. To this end, MPP focuses on removing
    criminal penalties for marijuana use, with a particular emphasis on
    making marijuana medically available to seriously ill people who have
    the approval of their doctors.

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