There are still thirteen states that haven’t gotten on board with medcal cannabis. If you live in one of those states and you are beginning to lose hope, buck up. All around the world, lawmakers previously dead set against medical cannabis are changing their minds. Take Switzerland. That country is set to loosen its restrictions on medical cannabis beginning August 1 (2022).
A change in national policy will allow doctors and their patients to work out medical cannabis consumption between them. That is a remarkable change from what the law currently demands: a special exemption issued by Switzerland’s national government. As you can imagine, those exemptions are hard to come by.
So what changed the lawmaker’s minds? Demand. Apparently, the government issued some 3,000 special exemptions just in 2019 alone. The demand for medical cannabis has been so strong that parliament agreed in 2021 to increase access. The new law slated to take effect on August 1 is a direct result of that agreement.
Doctors Will Write Prescriptions
Once the law takes effect, patients will no longer need a federal exemption to purchase and consume medical cannabis. Instead, they will consult with their regular doctors. If a doctor is comfortable in determining that the patient’s condition qualifies for medical cannabis, and that medical cannabis is the most appropriate treatment, they will simply write a prescription.
Imagine that same system being in place here. As things currently stand in the U.S., medical cannabis is regulated at the state level. Utahmarijuana.org says the Beehive State issues medical cannabis cards that allow patients to walk into any state pharmacy and purchase their medicines. Things are different in the Sunshine State.
There, Florida residents still must obtain medical cannabis cards. But they do not choose their own medicines at the pharmacy. Instead, their doctors phone in an order for them. They merely go in to pick it up. The Florida system is closer to a prescription system than Utah’s, but it is still not truly a prescription system.
Why It is Different Here
American doctors do not technically write cannabis prescriptions because they cannot. Remember that cannabis is still a Schedule I-controlled substance under federal law. That means it is technically illegal. The states only get away with approving medical cannabis because Washington has voluntarily turned a blind eye.
At any rate, doctors in the States do not have prescribing authority when it comes to medical cannabis. All they can do is make a recommendation. Most states ultimately leave the decision about dosage and delivery method up to patients themselves. Florida’s system of having doctors call in an order is not the norm.
For everything to change here, the federal government would have to either reschedule cannabis to Schedule II or decriminalize it completely. There is talk of both possibilities with the current Congress in place. But if they do not get something done by the end of 2022, it is possible nothing gets done for another four or five years.
Easier Access to Cannabis
In the meantime, patients in Switzerland will enjoy much easier access to cannabis beginning in August 2022. That is undoubtedly good news to many who want to use medical cannabis but were unable to secure a government exemption. It is reasonable to assume that doctors will be enthusiastic about the change as well. Being able to write a prescription involves considerably less hassle then helping patients obtain exemptions.
Gradually, more governments around the world are giving the nod to medical cannabis. It makes one wonder how long it will be before the thirteen holdout states set aside their objections and join the rest of America.