The Malta Independent 24 June 2018, Sunday

Legalisation of cannabis for therapeutic purposes ‘long overdue’ – PD

Friday, 17 November 2017, 08:19 Last update: about 8 months ago

Partit Demokratiku said today it is of the firm opinion that legislation that enables patient access to Cannabis for Therapeutic Purposes (CTP) is long overdue.

Although further research is necessary, there is ample evidence to support the claims that CTP has the potential to alleviate pain and suffering in many patients affected by a wide range of ailments.

This makes it an ethical issue of high priority and should take precedence over the issue of legalization for recreational use. This is why Partit Demokratiku MP Godfrey Farrugia had called for the legalization of CTP back in 2014. It is deeply disappointing that despite the introduction of new legislation in 2015, no steps have been taken over the past two and a half years to implement a process by which patients could obtain the medicine.

With the Prime Minister’s recent announcement that measures to improve patient access have been approved by the Cabinet, PD hopes to see the introduction of new importation and manufacturing licenses that would enable companies to legally provide CTP products of good quality to patients under the supervision and guidance of their family doctors.

Continuing Medical Education (CME) programmes for doctors and pharmacists on the risks and benefits of CTP are also necessary to ensure that patients receive the best quality care and advice. One cannot ignore the long history of cannabis as an illegal drug of abuse in Malta, and the understandable fear of stigmatization is a strong deterrent for many healthcare providers. Any uncertainty in its legal status will also cause healthcare practitioners to avoid advising their patients towards CTP for fear of breaking the law. This is why any new legislation on CTP must be made explicit and understandable by all.

PD notes that acceptable routes of administration should include vaporization, oral ingestion and tinctures. PD is of the firm opinion that both synthetic cannabinoid preparations and herbal cannabis products stand to play an important role in a wide range of therapeutic applications

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