Let’s do it like they do in Denmark: Faroese MPs change their minds on medical cannabis

Faroese MPs appear to have changed their minds on medical cannabis.

This comes after a proposal to establish a medical cannabis trial scheme was rejected last year. A majority of the Social Affairs Committee recommended scrapping the proposal, put forth by MP Jenis av Rana, to make medical cannabis available on a trial basis.

The majority argued that since it is currently possible to be prescribed cannabis oil from all Faroese doctors, there is no reason to apply for a special permission.

Sirið Stenberg, the minister of health and the interior, furthermore claimed that an experimental scheme with medicinal cannabis is unnecessary in the Faroe Islands as patients with special needs already have excellent accessibility to medicinal cannabis.

Ms. Stenberg emphasized that Faroese doctors have the authorization to prescribe medicinal cannabis as it is:

“The Health Ministry, the chief medical officer in the Faroes and the national pharmaceutical have discussed this issue and come to the conclusion that we already have authorization within the current system to provide patients with help who need medicinal cannabis,” Ms. Stenberg said in a comment last year.

However, Mr. Jenis av Rana was seemingly not satisfied with this response and, thus, he has now resubmitted the bill to make medical cannabis available on a trial basis.

In January 2018, a new statutory pilot programme on medicinal cannabis came into force in Denmark, and if Mr. Rana’s proposal is passed by the legislature, Faroese patients will become part of the Danish trial system.

After the first reading of the bill, which took place earlier this week, it is now safe to say that Faroese MPs have indeed changed their stance on establishing a medical cannabis trial scheme in the Faroe Islands.

According to Kvf.fo, many MPs supported Mr. Rana’s proposal. Some coalition MPs also pointed out, rather interestingly, that his proposal is actually unnecessary.

“The minister (Ms. Stenberg) simply needs to update her medical overview so that it also includes cannabis products, and I think she should do that as soon as possible,” Ms. Sonja Jógvansdóttir (Coalition MP) told Kringvarp Føroya.

Others MPs said the following:

Jenis av Rana, MP Centre Party (Miðflokkurin): “Let’s establish a trial scheme in the Faroes, because it (medical cannabis) helps so many people, especially those who are very ill.”

Katrin Kallsberg, MP Republican Party (Tjóðveldi): “I am in favor of allowing patients who really need it the right to be treated with medical cannabis.”

Bárður á Steig Nielsen, MP Unionist Party (Sambandsflokkurin): “I think it is only fair that patients who need this get the same treatment as they would have got in Denmark.”

Elsebeth Mercedis Gunnleygsdóttur, MP People’s Party (Fólkaflokkurin): “I voted in favor of this proposal the last time (in 2018), and I am going to vote in favor of it again.”

It is understood that Ms. Stenberg is going to follow the aforementioned advice by Ms. Jógvansdóttir – undoubtedly much to the delight of the Cannabis Party.

As reported by Local.fo, the Cannabis Party is now eligible to stand for election to the Faroese parliament.

“We are ready. We have a very simple message: we want to make cannabis accessible to patients (who need it), and in the long run we want to decriminalize, deregulate and legalize (the use of cannabis),” Mr. Hallur Hjalgrímsson Djurhuus, the founder of the party, told Kvf.fo back in February.

Article edited: 16.25, 4 April 2019

Author: Jens Hákun Leo