The law legalizing the use of medical cannabis in Luxembourg is almost complete, as parliamentary discussions began on Tuesday led by the Health Committee.
The legislation will allow doctors to prescribe cannabis in cases where conventional treatments fail to relieve patients’ pain.
Cécile Hemmen of the LSAP said work on the draft law was “almost finalized”.
One major change to the initial text originally presented by the Health Ministry is that the ability to prescribe will not be reserved for specialized physicians only.
Other doctors, including general practitioners, will be able to prescribe therapeutic cannabis to patients, provided they follow a special training course and are subsequently approved.
This change follows the advice of the Luxembourg State Council.
The drug will be reserved for pharmacies serving the four hospitals in the Grand Duchy, going against the wishes of several MPs, who called for local and regional pharmacies to be given access as well.
Luxembourg is one of the first countries in Europe to introduce such legislation, according to the Chamber of Deputies website.
The effects of the legislation are to be examined two years after the law is passed.
This assessment will make it possible for lawmakers to calculate the number of beneficiaries, as well as provide several indicators of use, such as for which diseases cannabis is mostly prescribed.
The illnesses where cannabis is allowed as a treatment is limited to cancer, neuro-degenerative diseases or chronic and painful diseases.
The results of the evaluation in two years’ time may also allow policymakers to decide whether that list could be expanded.
Some MPs are already of the opinion that the list of diseases could have included others, such as HIV.
The cannabis prescription will take the form of capsules, drops or oils.
The drug will be imported from countries that use a specialized agency such as Canada’s cannabis agency.
In Europe, the only countries with a cannabis agency are Austria and Germany.
Further information can be found in French on the Santé.lu website.