Cyprus Mail

MPs positive towards introduction of medical marijuana

MPs appeared positive over the introduction of medical cannabis in Cyprus apart from main opposition Akel, which did agree however, that serious cases should be prescribed the drug.

The House health committee discussed the bill, which included strict provisions governing the cultivation and distribution of the drug.

Ruling Disy MP and committee chairman Costas Constantinou said many patients needed medical cannabis but he also highlighted the financial benefits of making it legal.

Akel MP Giorgos Georgiou said he was against the production and distribution of medical cannabis in Cyprus, suggesting it was an attempt to import drugs through the back door. He also charged that it would also promote the interests of large companies on the back of the patients.

He did however say that his party was in favour of prescribing cannabis to patients with serious problems.

Georgiou said it had not been proven that cannabis can heal, an argument that Green party MP Giorgos Perdikis disagree with.

Perdikis said his party was all for legalisation of medical cannabis as long as it benefitted patients and not private interests.

He said a lot of scientists in Cyprus and Greece tend to agree with the international medical community that medical cannabis helped in some treatments and in some cases they were therapeutic.

If there were any disagreements, he said, they concerned the range and the ailments.

Perdikis said thousands of people used cannabis illegally as a medicine in Cyprus and it was wrong to let them fall victim to criminals because the state is dragging its feet.

The bill had been approved by cabinet in July last year and it aims at attracting international investment in the two licenses the government plans to grant for the cultivation of medicinal cannabis.

Health Minister Giorgos Pamboridis said at the time that they wanted 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.

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