An MS patient who grows his own cannabis for medical purposes has been cleared from criminal prosecution by the highest appeal court in the Netherlands, reports Wednesday’s Volkskrant.
Growing marijuana is illegal in the Netherlands, although police turn a blind eye to the cultivation of up to four plants. Wim Moorlag had 43 plants when police raided his home four years ago.
Whether the judgement will effect government policy on medicinal cannabis remains unclear but Tuesday’s decision could open the way for more people with serious illnesses to ask the courts for an exemption.
Five years ago it became possible for patients to buy medical cannabis (mediwiet) from high street chemists. Medical cannabis must be grown under licence. But costs can be high because it is not covered by health insurance. On top of this, only three sorts of the drug are available and these do not suit all patients, reports the Volkskrant.
Legalise medical cannabis
Moorlag said he could only find relief for his pain and keep his spasms under control with a specific sort of Afghan cannabis which he had to grow himself.
On Tuesday, the high court ruled that Moorlag cultivated the drug out of necessity, had no alternative and only grew enough for his own use, says the paper.
Moorlag’s lawyer Wim Anker talks of a ‘turning point’. ‘Other seriously sick people … can follow the same procedure,’ he is quoted as saying.
But Anker said it would be better if the law is changed and is in contact with MP Boris van der Ham of the left-wing democrat party D66 who he says is willing to initiate new legislation.
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