Global Report: 6 countries leading the medical marijuana discussion

In Feature Stories, Global by Chris Hogg

Our mandate is to cover the research, science and news around medical marijuana and as such one of the most interesting observations we’ve made is how different medical marijuana conversations can be in various countries.

For example, the Canadian medical marijuana industry has grown tremendously and 26,000 Canadians are now licensed to possess or grow medical marijuana but by April 2014, Health Canada is getting out of the medicinal marijuana business.

Medical marijuana laws in the United States, on the other hand, have proven to be much confusing for people trying to follow as it’s not legal federally but is legal in several states such as California, Colorado, Oregon and Nevada.

In Europe, the Czech Republic is a major part of the medical marijuana conversation, as Czechs are the biggest users of cannabis on the continent and recent developments will position Prague to start importing medical marijuana from Israel and the Netherlands.

Despite a long association of cannabis use in the U.K. as a lifestyle drug, marijuana has remained illegal, classified as a Class B drug (the second most dangerous group of controlled drugs). In the U.S., cannabis is a Schedule I drug, the only category of controlled substances that may not be prescribed by a physician

In Israel marijuana is not officially legal but its Ministry of Health offers special licenses that allow 10,000 registered users to access medical cannabis. The country has played a big role in marijuana research and Raphael Mechoulam is the scientist credited for identifying THC in marijuana.

Finally, the Netherlands has long been at the forefront of offering medical marijuana to its citizens. Medical marijuana was legalized in the Netherlands for use in pharmacies in 2003 and since 2007 several pharmacies have become specialized in medical cannabis.

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