Alongside announcing the cannabis oil provisions, Pamboridis said that legislation has been drafted to legalize medical cannabis more broadly. According to Greek-language newspaper Politis, the draft bill will be open for public consultation prior to being entered into parliament for debate and approval.
These announcements come two months after Pamboridis tweeted that he wanted to have a frank and open public conversation about the potential benefits of medical cannabis use.
Although these plans are groundbreaking for Cyprus, medical cannabis provisions for cancer patients are well-established in certain other countries.
Cannabis use, sale, and cultivation have been prohibited in Cyprus since 1977 when the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law was introduced. This legislation, which deems cannabis to be a Class B drug, offers harsh penalties for related offenses.
According to the European Centre for Monitoring Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), possession of fewer than 30 grams of cannabis can garner a prison sentence of up to eight years. Possession of more than 30 grams is presumed to be a supply offense and can be punished by up to life in prison.
In December 2016, the Irish parliament’s lower house passed a bill to legalize and regulate cannabis products for medical use. One month later, the lower house of the German parliament passed a bill to legalize cannabis for medical use “in very limited exceptional cases”.
Both bills are expected to pass their respective parliaments’ upper houses without obstruction.