Italian court rules that Local Health Authorities must provide marijuana for free for medical purposes

24 June 2010

In Italy, Mr. Marco Di Paolo, a multiple sclerosis sufferer from the town of Sulmona, went to court to have access to medical marijuana under the National Health System scheme. The judge has ruled that the Local Health Authority is obliged to provide marijuana for medical purposes under certain circumstances (a medical prescription of cannabis based drugs that are to be administered in a day hospital).

Under the present anti drug law, cannabis is not scheduled among the substances for therapeutic purposes. Nevertheless, under the general norms about the import of the drugs that are not produced in Italy, a doctor can prescribe patients any cannabis based drugs produced in foreign countries (like Bedrocan, Marinol, Sativex): following the medical prescription, the Local Health Authorities are to import and deliver them for free. The Health Authorities can reject the request for low budget problems only.

Actually, taking advantage of these norms, a number of Italian patients are receiving their supply of cannabis drugs. But most Local Health Authorities reject the medical prescriptions of cannabis drugs for ideological reasons, even when the patients are willing to pay for the drugs. That was what happened to Marco Di Paolo, who decided to appeal to the court.

After this ruling, the patients’ rights to be cured with cannabis medicines will be easier to be fulfilled.

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