Spain, like every other populated country on earth, is home to suffering patients, many of whom use various forms of medical cannabis to treat their condition(s). How many such patients there are in Spain is nearly impossible to determine, largely because the nation does not have a comprehensive medical cannabis program.

For several years lawmakers in Spain have tried to pass meaningful medical cannabis regulations, just to see medical cannabis measures repeatedly hit dead ends. The most recent example can be found last year when draft medical cannabis legislation was circulated and then tabled.

The Spanish government is reportedly reviving efforts to review medical cannabis regulation proposals, which are desperately needed in a country that has arguably the most active unregulated medical cannabis market on the planet. Per The Local:

Sources from the Ministry, headed by Sumar’s Mónica García, have confirmed to various outlets in the Spanish press that they intend to press on with draft legislation and relaunch the creation of a medical programme from mid-January.

The government had previously looked into the issue and the Spanish Parliament even approved a draft document that urged for cannabis regulation for medicinal purposes, but with the rush of elections at the end of the last legislature the issue was ultimately side-lined.

Now the Health Ministry wants to reignite the process and is reviewing the existing draft legislation, which was drawn up on the basis of findings by a Congressional committee and was something backed by all parties besides right-wing Partido Popular (PP) and Vox, who voted against.

According to a poll cited by The Local, 84% of Spaniards support regulating medical cannabis per CIS data. A majority of lawmakers in Spain’s Parliament also reportedly support medical cannabis reform.

There is a clear disconnect between cannabis opponents in Spain’s Parliament and what is actually going on in Spain’s communities. Spain’s cannabis consumption rate is greater than nearly every other nation on Earth, and hundreds of private cannabis clubs populate various parts of the country.

The absence of a regulated domestic medical cannabis program has done nothing to deter people from consuming cannabis. Rather, it forces suffering patients to source their medicine from unregulated sources, which is far from an optimal situation.

It remains unclear if/when medical cannabis legislation will receive a vote in Spain’s Parliament, and for that matter, whether such a vote would prove to be favorable or not. However, momentum does appear to be gaining in Spain, and it’s largely a matter of supporters in parliament overcoming the constant hurdles that are set up by opponents.

Meanwhile, the effort to shut down cannabis clubs in Barcelona continues, although, the odds of it succeeding seem grim at best. Lawmakers at the local and national levels need to work together in Spain to regulate cannabis products and commerce, rather than continue to stick their heads in the ground and let organized crime fill the void at the expense of public health outcomes.

This article first appeared on Internationalcbc.com and is syndicated here with special permission.

  • Johnny Green is the Media and Content Director for the International Cannabis Business Conference and has blogged about cannabis since January 2010.

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