Gibraltar Legalizes Medical Cannabis

The small British colony located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula has begun the process of setting up a medical program.

The British possession of Gibraltar on the southern tip of Spain legalized medical cannabis last week. Cannabis will soon be available to a small number of patients there in the form of oil only.

“HM Government of Gibraltar is pleased to announce the publication of the Drugs (Misuse) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 (the “Regulations”), which amend the Drugs (Misuse) Regulations 2005,” the local government announced in a press release. “The Regulations provide for the supply and possession of certain cannabis-based products for medicinal use in limited circumstances.”

Under Gibraltar’s new regulations, medical cannabis can only be prescribed for a limited number of medical conditions, including multiple sclerosis (MS), severe epilepsy, “severe and life altering pain,” and intractable nausea, all of which only qualify if traditional medicine has already failed to work as a treatment.

Cannabis products will be dispensed by the pharmacy at St. Bernard’s Hospital and the doctors who prescribe it must undergo training first.

“To me, this represents a milestone in healthcare in Gibraltar. Extensive research and consultation has gone into this project, and I am beyond delighted to be a key part of this initiative,” said Dr. Krishna Rawal, Gibraltar Health Authority’s (GHA) Acting Medical Director.

“In my considered view, cannabis oil certainly has its place in the modern medical care of some patients. Over time, I am certain that the increased use of cannabis for medical purposes will generate overwhelming evidence in support of its use,” he added.

The local government is monitoring the situation very carefully with the aim to expand the list of eligible conditions in the near future.

“I am extremely keen to always provide patients with as many options as possible for their medical treatment, recovery, and their return to good health and wellbeing,” Rawal added.

The Minister for Health and Care, the Hon. Paul Balban, will regulate the program as part of his department.

Small Land in European Politics

Fewer than 35,000 people live in the 6.7-square kilometer community of Gibraltar. Despite its small size, Gibraltar is viewed as an influential force because of the many companies in the gambling and banking industries that are based there. That status, however, would be severely impacted if Brexit goes through.

Despite Gibraltar being ceded to Great Britain in 1713, its sovereignty is contested by Spain. A plurality of the community is British and has long preferred the UK’s dominion to that of nearby Spain.

The United Kingdom only very recently legalized medical cannabis and its program remains very limited.

The cannabis industry in Spain is unique in that cannabis is decriminalized, leading to the establishment of both social and medical cannabis clubs even as outright selling remains illegal.

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