Congress will develop a proposal to regulate the medicinal use of cannabis
Legal cannabis plantation of the company Phytocann, near the Swiss town of Ollon, last May.FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The Congress of Deputies has taken a first step to propose a possible regulation of the use of cannabis for some medicinal purposes. The insistence of the PNV, author of the initiative, has obtained broad support in order to create a working subcommittee that undertakes to prepare a proposal in this regard within six months. All the left, nationalists and citizens have supported the preparation of the study, while the right has opposed addressing this regulation that is already being tested in several European countries and has the support of the UN.

The support of the PSOE has been preceded by some reservations expressed by the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, who warned that the scientific evidence of the medicinal uses of cannabis is still limited and that the drug also carries health risks. Despite these reluctance, the Socialists agree to draw up a proposal after studying the regulations that already exist in other countries and the opinions of experts that will be sought by the new subcommission.

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Faced with its classic image of a conservative and confessional party, the PNV defends the general legalization of the use of hemp, although, out of “pragmatism”, its proposal was limited exclusively to possible therapeutic applications. The nationalist deputy Josune Gorospe had already asked the minister last March if she had any intention of addressing the matter. As Health preferred not to take the initiative, the PNV decided to assume it and this Thursday it has obtained the support of the Plenary of Congress. He has had 206 favorable votes and 141 against, those of the PP, Vox and four right-wing deputies integrated in the Mixed Group.

In her response to the PNV, the minister stressed that there are already two authorized drugs that use cannabis derivatives and that, in other cases, the studies have not been “conclusive.” Darias, despite everything, was willing to study the issue, a position that the Socialists have taken by joining the PNV proposal. In the position of the PSOE has weighed the decision of the UN, at the request of the WHO, to withdraw cannabis from the drug list and recognize its therapeutic potentialities. A study sponsored last year by the medicinal hemp industry calculated that some 200,000 people in Spain could resort to its use and that a potential business niche of 3,000 million euros per year would be opened.

When the matter was debated in the Health Commission of Congress, before reaching the plenary session this Thursday, the PP had already expressed its rejection. Without categorically denying that cannabis can have medicinal uses, the popular also highlighted that scientific evidence is lacking and considered it “inappropriate” to raise this issue in the midst of a pandemic. Vox went further, dismissed the initiative as an attempt to “launder the drug” and announced its “frontal opposition” to any proposal to legalize it. Just the opposite of what groups such as the aforementioned PNV or ERC advocated.

As is often the case with many issues of social or moral content, Ciudadanos has also distanced itself from the center-right bloc to vote aligned with the left. He had already done so recently on other issues such as the regulation of euthanasia or the recognition of the rights of transgender people.

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