Spain Advances Medical Cannabis Regulation, Joining Global Trend

Spain's Health Minister Mónica García is set to approve medical marijuana, backed by the governing coalition and following consultations with key stakeholders, as part of the Sumar program aimed at comprehensive cannabis regulation, despite previous delays in the process.

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Monica Garcia
Image Credits: Swami Canna, Cannabis Magazine

In an effort to join the global trend, Spain’s Ministry of Health is initiating a process to regulate the therapeutic application of cannabis. Mónica García, the Minister of Health, intends to approve the usage of medical marijuana in the near future. The measure has been long overdue and enjoys the support of the governing coalition. Before establishing the Ministerial Order, the Ministry will meet with important stakeholders, such as the Observatory on Medicinal Cannabis, to gather their input and assessments.

This move is part of the Sumar program, which promotes a comprehensive regulation of cannabis, supporting non-profit self-consumption associations for cannabis and decriminalizing production and personal consumption. The regulation of medical cannabis has experienced several delays since a subcommittee in Congress convened in June 2022, commissioning a report from AEMPS that was never completed within the six-month deadline set.

Comparing Spain with International Regulations

When it comes to regulating medical cannabis, Spain is currently lagging behind other countries due to its reliance on authorization from the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Medical Devices (AEMPS). Meanwhile, nations such as Uruguay, Israel, and the Netherlands are pioneers in the legalization of medicinal cannabis usage. Others, like Canada and several states in the United States, have gone further to legalize recreational use as well.

Some European countries, including Germany, Italy, and France, permit the use of cannabis-based medications such as Sativex or Epidiolex, both approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Portugal, the Czech Republic, and Denmark also allow extracts or flowers under medical prescription. Consequently, the regulation of medical cannabis in Spain must consider the existing laws and advancements in other countries.

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Additionally, the regulation of medical cannabis affects international treaties and conventions on drugs governing the control of narcotic and psychotropic substances. Most countries have signed these treaties, which prescribe that cannabis and its derivatives must be strictly controlled and only used for medical or scientific purposes. However, some countries have defied these agreements by legalizing recreational use. Therefore, Spain’s regulation of medical cannabis must account for scientific evidence supporting therapeutic application as well as potential risks and benefits to public health.

The Impact on Industry and Market Growth

It is worth recognizing that the burgeoning global demand for medical cannabis has prompted rapid growth in the sector. Many factors contribute to this growth, including increased patient demand, expanded indications for therapy, product diversification, and new administration methods. Further, many countries are now decriminalizing or legalizing cannabis usage, both for medicinal and recreational purposes.

Estimates suggest that the size of the cannabis market reached $29.32 billion in 2023 and is expected to reach $60.01 billion by 2028, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.40%. If Spain approves the regulation of medical cannabis, the impact on the local pharmaceutical industry could be significant. There would likely be substantial growth and economic opportunities, particularly in developing and producing cannabinoid-based medications, benefiting local and international companies promoting research and innovative pharmaceutical products.

Spain’s Path Forward

Gaining approval for the regulation of medical cannabis in Spain depends upon critical input from key stakeholders, a thorough understanding of international regulations, and an awareness of the impact on public health and market growth. By addressing these factors, Spain can join the worldwide trend toward more comprehensive regulation of cannabis, ultimately providing patients with better access to medical marijuana and contributing to new opportunities in the pharmaceutical sector.

Rita Ferreira

Rita Ferreira

Rita is a seasoned writer with over five years of experience, having worked with globally renowned platforms, including Forbes and Miister CBD. Her deep knowledge of hemp-related businesses and passion for delivering accurate and concise information distinguish her in the industry. Rita's contributions empower individuals and companies to navigate the complexities of the cannabis world, and her work remains a valuable resource for those seeking a deeper understanding of its potential.

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