france medical marijuana
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
October 17, 2020 ·  2 min read

France to Start Distributing Free Medical Cannabis in 2021

The French government has announced that they will be starting an experiment distributing limited free medical cannabis. For many french citizens, this is a long-awaited announcement.

French Government to Start Free Medical Marijuana Experiment

Beginning either when the first prescription is given out or by March 31, 2021, the French government confirmed that up to 3,000 patients will participate in a free medical cannabis experiment. (1)

The experiment is limited to two years and will determine the country’s next decisions on the wide-spread use of medical marijuana. (1)

The Ministry of Health and Solidarity will be responsible for the project. (1) The minister and the general director of the French Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) will decide (2):

  • The characteristics, composition, pharmaceutical form, and technical specifications of the cannabis-based medical products.
  • The list of conditions for which doctors will be able to prescribe medical marijuana within the experiment.
  • The specific procedures for importing, storing, distributing, and controlling cannabis.

Cannabis companies participating in the experiment have to supply the drug to patients for free and the products will have to comply with pharmaceutical standards. (1)

More Details to Come

Nicolas Authier, university professor and chair of the ANSM scientific committee on medical cannabis, is excited about the project. He is also aware that there are many steps that need to take place before the project launches. (2)

“Five more months of work before the first prescriptions,” he added, “but France is now officially committed to access to medical cannabis.” (2)

These steps include (2):

  • Implementation of a patient registry to be updated by doctors and pharmacies, with patients’ consent
  • Mandatory training program for doctors and pharmacists volunteering to participate in the program
  • The final project budget will be approved by the French government
  • Determine suppliers

The cultivation of high THC-cannabis is still not legal in France, so Authier says that marijuana suppliers will likely be foreign. They will work in collaboration with pharmaceutical laboratories in France that are licensed for narcotics. It is also important to note that marijuana will only be prescribed as a last resort, not a first option. (2)

Lastly, patients in the experiment will receive information regarding several aspects of medical marijuana use when they receive their prescription. These include special precautions for the use of cannabis-based medical products, possible adverse effects, and contraindications.

The Future of Cannabis in France

Though it will still be some years before the use of medical marijuana is completely legal in France, it’s the first step. It is an exciting time for those seeking medical cannabis.