Bulgaria MP to Table Medical Cannabis Legalization Bill
Independent lawmaker Velizar Enchev has announced he is to put forward in September a bill that would allow for cannabis to be used for medical purposes.
He has warned that "thousands of people suffering in Bulgaria" could find a means to alleviate their pain if they are able to use a mouth spray and has underlined that legalizing smoking has never crossed his mind.
In a Monday interview with private bTV station, citing the experience of several EU countries and a number of US states which have approved medical cannabis, he asserted that "everybody opposing this is also opposing their practices."
Earlier, Enchev launched a petition [BG] calling for the move, explaining he wanted to have "people's voice" heard.
Launched in mid-August, the petition has gathered some 3730 signatures (as of Monday, 13:30 EEST).
It followed an exchange of comments between him and Health Minister Petar Moskov on allowing medical cannabis, a step about which Moskov is cautious, fearing it could be easily mixed up with legalization.
Enchev, a former spy, has been known for often going against the opinions of "party" lawmakers, and he quit the nationalist Patriotic Front (PF) coalition just days after being elected Parliament on its ticket.
In June, Enchev submitted to Parliament an official inquiry to Health Minister Petar Moskov which included the list of diseases whose symptoms which some researchers firmly believe medical cannabis could relieve - including "cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis," and many others.
"Unfortunately this is a taboo issue in Bulgaria. What is more, two years ago a person diagnosed with MS in Lovech was brought before court because he planted marijuana after having read in specialized medical publications that cannabis deals successfully with the development of his illness."
Enchev is referring to Marin Kalchev, who was acquitted in March with the judge citing "numerous international studies" which proved the effect of medical cannabis.
But Minister Moskov believes that THC-based mouth sprays (THC is the most active ingredient in cannabis) could bring about "marijuana smoking" which "poses more risks to the human boby than the disease itself."
There have been proposals in the past months by Israeli companies and researchers to cooperate in Bulgaria on medical cannabis.
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