November 1st marked the first day that medical cannabis can be legally sold to patients in Polish pharmacies.
Under new regulations that came under enforcement on November 1st, imported cannabis can now be processed at Polish pharmacies into prescription products for patients in the country.
It was in July of this year that Poland’s Lower House of Parliament overwhelmingly voted in favor (440–2) of medical marijuana legalization. Shortly after, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda signed the medical cannabis bill into law, formally introducing medical cannabis to Poland.
Non-psychoactive, low-THC CBD hemp oil was already legal in Poland before the legalization efforts. The new medical cannabis law now grants Poles the right to use medical marijuana with higher concentrations of THC.
Poland’s MMJ Law
According to Poland’s medical cannabis law, patients must receive permission to use cannabis products from a regional pharmaceutical inspector, along with a prescription from a physician, before purchasing medical marijuana from their local pharmacy.
Cannabis will only be available through registered pharmacies, and the medicine must first be filed with the Office for Registration of Medicinal Products prior to sale. The qualifying conditions eligible for medical cannabis include:
- Chronic pain
- Chemotherapy-induced nausea
- Multiple sclerosis
- Treatment-resistant epilepsy.
“It is estimated that up to 300,000 patients could qualify for medical marijuana treatment,” the Polish Pharmaceutical Chamber (PPC) said.
Pharmacists are already prepared to make the drugs, according to the PPC. “Given the fact that there are nearly 15,000 pharmacies in Poland, an overwhelming majority is authorised to make prescription drugs – that’s around 90 percent,” said a spokesperson for the PPC. The agency added that specialist training would be available if necessary for doctors who are interested.
Imported Cannabis Only
Poland’s medical cannabis law was introduced by former rapper turned politician Piotr Krzysztof Liroy-Marzec. Nearly two years after joining the Polish parliament, Liroy-Marzec has managed to gain enough support to pass his medical cannabis bill, a centerpoint to his campaign for election.
Although it is now legal for pharmacies to sell cannabis to qualified patients, lawmakers have not created a system for the domestic cultivation of cannabis. Therefore, any cannabis or cannabis products in Poland will have to be imported from other countries within the European Union or father abroad.
Medical Cannabis in the EU
Poland is not the first country in the EU to pass comprehensive medical cannabis laws. A number of other European Union countries have legalized medical cannabis, including:
- Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
Some countries, like Belgium, France, Serbia, have approved the use of synthetic cannabinoids like Nabilone and Dronabinol for use as prescription medical treatments.
The legalization of medical cannabis in Poland may signal a shift in policy concerning cannabis in Europe. As more nations in the EU pass effective medical cannabis policy, we are sure to see others follow suit.
You can learn more about U.S. and international cannabis laws on our education page.