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Medical Cannabis Pilot Project Proposed In Iceland

iceland flag

The concept of cannabis commerce pilot projects is not a new thing and is seemingly growing in popularity among policymakers and regulators in Europe. The latest example of that can be found in Iceland, where a proposal was recently submitted to launch a medical cannabis-focused pilot project.

For those that may be unfamiliar with cannabis commerce pilot projects, medical and adult-use cannabis commerce projects allow jurisdictions to permit limited, legal cannabis commerce. The theory behind the concept is that it affords policymakers and regulators the opportunity to see how commerce works on a limited scale to be better suited to craft national policies.

Denmark currently has a medical-focused pilot program, and adult-use pilot programs are popping up in Switzerland. According to the current legalization plan in Germany, pilot programs will be part of the second phase of legalization once the details are figured out.

Iceland’s pilot project is somewhat different than what is going on in Switzerland, and eventually Germany, beyond just Iceland’s proposal being for medical versus adult use. One could easily argue that the proposal in Iceland is essentially an expansion of the nation’s medical cannabis program, albeit in a limited-duration fashion. Per Cannabis Health News:

Following a debate in Alþingi [Icelandic parliament] last week, officials have proposed a four-year pilot project to permit the use of medical cannabis, as well as the cultivation, production and distribution of cannabis-based products for medicinal use.

If approved, the Ministry of Health will work with the Minister of Culture and Trade to establish a working group to prepare a bill allowing companies to apply for licences to produce and distribute cannabis medicines.

The bill would need to be presented by the ministry by 31st December with the four-year pilot programme expected to begin on 1 January, 2024.

Currently, only the pharmaceutical product Sativex is available to suffering patients in Iceland, and even then, only in limited circumstances. Just as is the case everywhere around the globe, suffering patients in Iceland deserve to have safe, legal access to their medicine in whatever form helps them the best.

Only time will tell if the proposal in Iceland makes it to the finish line this year, and even if it does, whether or not 2024 will end up being the actual launch year. Pilot projects are notorious for experiencing delayed implementations. Hopefully that doesn’t prove to be the case in Iceland.