Romania might legalise the consumption of medicinal cannabis, according to an announcement that Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici made on Wednesday. He pointed out that a commission is analysing the issue at the Health Ministry.
“I too have talked with Minister Sorina Pintea and I too have found out that such a commission is convening at the Health Ministry to analyse and find arguments for legalising the use of cannabis for medical purposes; the legalisation of use is being considered for those diagnosed in terminal stages, especially when it comes to cancer. There is a medical argument justifying such a legalisation procedure,” Teodorovici said.
Asked whether the Government is working on such a bill, Teodorovici said: “I don’t know if the Government is, but if the relevant commission was at the Health Ministry yesterday that means that this is the direction taken. It’s already a European practice, and it has a justification, medically speaking. For the patients in a terminal stage, it probably is a way of easing their pain.”
In what concerns the use of cannabis for recreational purposes, Teodorovici said: “If you want a somewhat relevant answer, we always relate to what happens in other states. There are practices in European countries, legalised since long, and which bring advantages and have arguments. So, there are advantages. Of course, some in Romania see disadvantages on several topics, not just this. But for the time being it is premature to say.”
“Surely, in the following years there will probably be several public debates on several topics, probably on this one too, with arguments on both sides of the issue, and a decision will be taken depending on which side is larger. If several practices are legalised in Western Europe, then why wouldn’t one analyse whether it is indeed worth taking into account?”, the minister said.
“In Romania, arguments of an economic nature pale in front of others that are easy to take to the population,” he added when asked whether Romania would stand to gain economically from legalising cannabis.
Health Minister Sorina Pintea has stated that the legalising of cannabis has been demanded by patients and the relatives of patients with rare illnesses and oncological illnesses, whom she has already met as part of a working meeting at the headquarters of the Health Ministry. Pintea added that legalisation would be “a good thing.”
Members of the European Parliament adopted on February 14, in Strasbourg, a resolution on the use of medicinal cannabis and called on the member states of the European Union to take advantage of the potential shown by this type of pharmaceutical drugs.
The proposed resolution was tabled on January 16. The text points out that no EU member state authorises the smoking of medicinal cannabis or the farming of cannabis for medical purposes; UN conventions and international law do not prevent the use of cannabis or cannabis-based products in treating certain health problems; there is no internal EU regulation on introducing cannabis-based pharmaceutical drugs on the market.
According to the Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), cannabis continues to be the drug most highly used in Romania. According to Digi24.ro, last year alone law-enforcement officers confiscated 5,785 plants brought into the country by traffickers. Specialists warn that there is no international consensus on the medical benefits of cannabis.
Reactions on legalisation of medicinal cannabis in Romania
European Commission’s representation in Romania: More medical research and studies are needed
The European Commission claims that, even though cannabis is used for medical purposes in some EU member states, more medical research and studies are needed to analyse the interaction with other pharmaceutical drugs and monitor patients over a longer period.
“Cannabis sativa (cannabis) and cannabinoids are used for medical purposes in some European Union member states, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction,” the European Commission’s representation in Romania points out in a Facebook posting.
Cannabis is the most-used illegal drug in Europe, the posting adds.
“In the European Union, no country that allows the use of medicinal cannabis-based products recommends smoking as means of administering the drug. As regards the efficiency of cannabis for medical purposes, a report of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction shows that clinical research and studies are further needed, including those analysing its dosage and interaction with other pharmaceutical drugs, but also studies that would monitor patients for a longer period,” the European Commission’s posting reads.
CIADO President Constantin Balaceanu Stolnici recommends Gov’t to endorse research in area of medical cannabis
The President of the International Anti-drug and Human Rights Center (CIADO) Romania, Academician Constantin Balaceanu Stolnici, recommends the Government to endorse the research in the area of medical cannabis and create a legal framework for patients to have access to these treatments safely, a press release of the organization informs.
“CIADO Romania President Academician Constantin Balaceanu Stolnici recommends the Government to endorse the research in the area of medical cannabis and create a legal framework for patients to have access to these treatments safely. Taking into account that morphine is also legally used to reduce the pain of end-stage patients, we believe that this step of analysing the opportunity of legalizing marijuana-based medical products for therapeutic purposes, carried out by the Healthcare Ministry, can only be welcomed,” the release mentions.
CIADO underscored that its clarifications refer to the “marijuana-based medical products” and not to “marijuana” used in the form of joints.
“As President of the Scientific Council of the Anti-drug National Agency, I requested the CIADO Director, Mr Lazar Gigel, as well as specialists with the Anti-drug National Agency a meta-study regarding the possible benefits and detriments of cannabis consumption,” Constantin Balaceanu Stolnici stated.
Former Health Minister: I don’t understand Teodorovici’s competence
Cseke Attila, who is a senator of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) and a former Health Minister, stated on Thursday that legalizing cannabis in Romania should be analyzed and announced by the specialists in this field, and he doesn’t understand why the Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici made the announcement and what is his competence in this field.
“I didn’t understand why this statement, this measure which is discussed, came from the Finance Ministry and the Finance Minister. I don’t understand what the competence of the Finance Ministry in this field is. I think that if there is a specialized committee analyzing the opportuneness of legalizing cannabis for medical purposes, any kind of comment, any kind of opinion, a possible decision on legalizing it or not should and must be made by the Health Ministry and the Health Minister”, the UDMR Senator Cseke Attila stated for RFI.
The former Health Minister says specialists must analyze the necessity of legalizing cannabis in Romania.
“This matter should be left to the discretion and professional preparation of the specialists. Of course, there are already several countries, not a few, in both EU and the European area, the last country, if I’m not wrong, was U.K., who have already legalized it. So, probably, from the professional point of view of the specialists, there is a support and an explanation to legalize it. There is a recommendation of the European Parliament, which was adopted this February, and which recommends to the Member States to take this step. Therefore, if this step must be done, it must be done only at the proposal and after the analysis of the specialists, and they have to decide if Romania will take this step”, Attila added.
Orban: The Government fiddles while Rome is burning. Anyway, they are acting like they had cannabis
National Liberal Party (PNL) Chairman Ludovic Orban stated on Wednesday that his party doesn’t support the initiative on which Eugen Teodorovici talked with Sorina Pintea, on legalizing cannabis for medical purposes. The Liberal leader mentioned that anyway, PSD is acting like they had cannabis.
“The Government fiddles while Rome is burning. Anyway, they are acting like they had cannabis. They lost any contact with the reality, and anyway, they are trying to get rid of the consequences of the offenses they committed, so they are probably trying to get rid of the punishment, because they are acting like they are cannabis consumers”, Ludovic Orban stated on Wednesday for MEDIAFAX.
The Liberal Chairman added that “the consequences of cannabis on them show that it doesn’t have medical connotations or consequences”.
Asked if PNL would support such an initiative, Orban said: “No”.
Bacalbasa: The problem is not the legalization for people having cancer, but the risk of cannabis trafficking. The PSD MP suggests “good faith and verification” to fight the abuse
PSD MP Nicolae Bacalbasa stated for MEDIAFAX that legalizing cannabis for people who have cancer is a fair thing, but the problem is that this initiative may lead to a risk of cannabis trafficking, given that drug management is difficult in Romania.
“For people having cancer, it is a medicine. The problem is not to legalize it for people having cancer, which is a fair thing in medical terms, but this initiative may lead to a risk of cannabis trafficking. We are a country where slippages were frequent and good intentions have been diverted. Therefore, indicating cannabis for the patient having cancer is one thing, and it is a fair thing, and drug management as a whole in this country is another problem that must be subject to the highest level of vigilance, since we abuses have been committed before”, Nicolae Bacalbasa stated.
Asked what he would propose to prevent the occurrence of such abuses and slippages, Bacalbasa replied briefly: “Good faith and verification”.
USR MP Claudiu Nasui: “It also has an impact on social relations, on public health, and this is where a deeper analysis should be made, namely if the extra money that such a legalization brings to the budget is worth, given the social cost”.
PNL MP Dan Vilceanu: “I don’t think we have overcome the principle discussion, namely if Romanians agree to legalize light drugs or not, because once this discussion is started, I guarantee you the opinions will become more trenchant”.
“There are many contradictory discussions here. Some of them certify the efficiency, others refute it. We must not imagine that starting tomorrow we can go to the drugstore and buy it as if we buy aspirin. It will be strictly under medical supervision”, Radu Tincu, Primary AIC toxicologist, said according to Digi24.ro.