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Government approves medical cannabis bill (Updated)

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The cabinet on Wednesday approved a bill allowing the cultivation and provision of medical cannabis in the Republic, Health Minister Giorgos Pamborides said.

Speaking after the cabinet meeting, Pamborides said that the aim of the bill was to get international investors to express interest in the two licences that will be granted for the cultivation of medical cannabis in Cyprus, attracting capital and boosting the field of research and development in the pharmaceutical sector and industry.

He said it is an innovative bill which he hoped will be approved by parliament so that Cyprus would soon have the legal framework required to attract this important investment.

It is a significant development measure, he said, adding that not many countries have adopted this practice.

“I believe that Cyprus can be a pioneer in the region due to the favourable weather conditions” required to cultivate it, he said.

The aim, he added, is to attract start-ups and new business opportunities so that researchers can exploit the fact that cultivation will be legal for medical cannabis and become active in research programmes.

Asked why international investors are needed, the minister replied that Cyprus needed their expertise, science and significant funds.

The health ministry had said earlier in the year that it was in consultation with companies for the supply of cannabis oil to be administered to cancer patients, but it hadn’t closed any deals.

A North American-based company specialising in medical cannabis research and production, announced in May that it was cleared for distribution of cannabinoid formulations for patients in Cyprus.

According to an announcement on BusinessWire, the company, Tilray, said its cannabinoid products had been cleared for distribution in Cyprus after it had received necessary approval in Canada and Cyprus.

The company said at the time it was working with Cyprus’ health ministry “to import and distribute Tilray Drops, a medical cannabis extract product, at pharmacies and healthcare facilities throughout the country to patients with advanced cases of cancer who have authorisation to access medical cannabis products”.

Details on the law such as if the medical cannabis will be available only for those who have exhausted all other options and if the licences will be given for 15 years as previously planned were not immediately available from the health ministry.

 

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