Balkan States Move Toward Medical Marijuana

medical marijuana
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Three of the Balkan states to emerge from the ashes of Yugoslavia a generation ago are now among the first countries in the ex-communist world to move toward embracing medical marijuana.

Australian firm MGC Pharmaceuticals just announced a deal to distribute its cannabis-derived products in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia. MGC is partnering with the Slovenian supplier Mikro+Polo to market its phytocannabinoid-derived Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) in the three countries, according to Australia’s Business News.

Perth-based MGC was established three years ago by veterans of the Israeli medical marijuana industry. Late last year, it harvested its first test crop of cannabis in Slovenia and has established a facility in the country’s capital, Ljubljana, where it is isolating cannabidiol (CBD) for use in its products, including a CBD-infused skincare ointment. 

MGC’s share price shot up 20 percent after the announcement of the Balkan deal, Australia’s Motley Fool business blog reported.

Last October, Croatia become the first Balkan country to allow patients to legally purchase and use cannabis products to treat serious illnesses—although so far, none are available for doctors to prescribe, according to BalkanInsight.

Regulations issued by the country’s Health Ministry permit each patient to receive up to 0.75 grams of THC per month—presumably in either herbaceous or extract form. However, the law does not allow for cultivation.

Neither Slovenia, nor Bosnia, have taken this step, despite growing pressure, but products derived from MGC’s CBD-heavy strains are now being allowed. And the Slovenian parliament is actually considering an initiative to have cannabis removed from the Schedule I list.

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