Since the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the use of the cannabis is restricted in the medical field. However, evidence demonstrates that medicinal cannabis can alleviate the pain brought by the side effects of cancer treatments or chronic pain experienced due to severe conditions such as multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Hence, the interest of the scientific and patients’ communities has gained ground over the recent years.
Yet, the legislation regulating medicinal cannabis across the Member States of the European Union (EU) remains fragmented; depriving European patients of the care they need. Indeed, Members States regulate the licensing, production, distribution, access and reimbursement of medicinal cannabis in different ways. Whilst the fragmentation hampers the development of a European industry under a clear, harmonised regulated framework, the situation also varies for patients. For instance, patients can only access medicinal cannabis as a last resort medication or when a specific medical doctor prescribes it.
#cannabismédical En février déjà je demandais en #plenpe des règles communes et plus de fonds pour la recherche sur le cannabis médical. Je persiste et signe les engagements de @medcannabisEU qui vont dans ce sens. La balle est dans le camp de la @EU_Commission #thc #cbd #Heurope pic.twitter.com/vxwYfrsmCX
— Frédérique Ries (@Frederiqueries) November 19, 2019
Since 2018, Hague has been managing the Secretariat of Medicinal Cannabis Europe (MCE), the only multi-stakeholder association comprising patients and medical communities, NGOs, academia, as well as industries, that aims for patients’ fair access to medicinal cannabis. We defined and implement the advocacy strategy of the association towards institutional stakeholders operating at national and European levels. Our services to MCE comprise the full spectrum of public affairs and strategic communication: monitoring, intelligence gathering, stakeholder engagement and management, advocacy and communication.
For example, since 2019, Hague promotes a policy pledge seeking the support of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) for the establishment of an EU harmonised regulatory framework on medicinal cannabis and for the allocation of EU funds for research on medicinal cannabis under scientific research initiative Horizon Europe.
Today, @brandobenifei 🇮🇹 endorsed our @MedCannabisEU policy pledge 📝💡. Thank you very much for your support! We are looking forward to working with you to ensuring #patients fair access to #medicinalcannabis in 🇪🇺 pic.twitter.com/kg5v6pS7s9
— Medicinal Cannabis Europe (@MedCannabisEU) February 18, 2020
Within two years, Hague has managed to profile MCE as a reliable stakeholder representing the medicinal cannabis value chain towards EU institutional stakeholders and is now working towards a European citizen initiative on medicinal cannabis, which aims to collect a million signature throughout the EU and call on the European Commission to prepare a policy initiative to ensure patients’ fair access.
Dr. Vincenzo Costigliola, President of MCE, stated:
“Hague’s knowledge of the European decision-making landscape, access to policymakers, its strategic recommendations and stakeholder engagement are instrumental to fulfilling MCE’s goals.”