A draft legislation on the legalization of cannabis for medical use was submitted to parliament ahead of a general election slated for the autumn. While opponents cite studies suggesting that marijuana causes lung cancer or psychosis, advocates contend the plant has a range of medical applications including pain relief and seizure management. A new survey conducted by the independent PBS agency in the central European country revealed that nearly 70% of Poles favor the legalization of medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana hit the headlines in Poland early in 2015 after a doctor at a leading children's hospital imported it from the Netherlands to treat a child suffering from life-threatening seizures after conventional treatments failed. The child recovered. There has also been public outcry after charges were pressed against a medical marijuana activist who supplied patients with cannabis oil for using it to treat various symptoms.
A total 68% of Poles said that they wanted medical marijuana to be legal. Of those surveyed, 42% insisted it be accessible only via a doctor's prescription, while 26% favored unfettered access for anyone wanting to use it as medicine. 18% wanted marijuana in all its forms to remain illegal, while 14% said that they had no opinion on the matter.
68% also said that denying patients access to medical marijuana was 'cruel' and violated their right to access healthcare, while 70% said that since 'harmful alcohol' is legal, they saw no reason why medical cannabis should be banned.
The Czech Republic, Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain have legalized medical marijuana. In the United States, 23 states and the capital, Washington, have laws that permit medical use of cannabis. Uruguay in 2013 became the world's first country to fully legalize marijuana.