Belgium legislates in favour of medicinal cannabis

Lawmakers have approved legislation that legalises the use of cannabis on medical grounds.  The Belgian state will retain a monopoly on the cultivation and trade of such cannabis with the creation of a Cannabis Office.

For some time now patients in Belgium have been able to use cannabis on medical grounds.  So far the problem has been that suitable cannabis has been hard to get hold of as cannabis cultivation was banned in Belgium.

This ban is now being lifted for cannabis for medicinal purposes but cultivation will have to meet strict norms.

"A newly established Cannabis Office will organise the cultivation of all cannabis" lawmaker Nele Lijnen (Flemish liberal), who took the initiative for the law said. "It will issue licences.  The office will also purchase the cannabis production and sell it on to chemists and hospitals."

Medicinal cannabis will only be available on doctor's prescription.