Aurélien Rousseau, French Minister of Health, promises to roll out access to medical cannabis for patients across the country.
Faced with increasing pressure from various groups such as elected officials, parliamentarians from all parties, doctors and scientists, the French Minister of Health, Aurélien Rousseau, has always stood firm and refused to commit to generalizing the access to medical cannabis across the country this year. (1). However, Rousseau confirmed that the path towards access to medical cannabis for patients will continue in the country. He attributes this problem to “lack of commitment” (1) to a fully established medical cannabis program, which he says is partly due to poor “European marketing authorization” (1). Rousseau hopes this could be ready by 2025 (1).
In the European Union (EU), 17 members, including the United Kingdom and Switzerland, have legalized medical cannabis, something industry players and medical cannabis advocates are quick to mention (1) . Rousseau was interviewed on this subject during a meeting of the Social Affairs Commission of the National Assembly which was held on October 11, 2023. A few weeks before this meeting, the Social Security Financing Bill ( PLFSS) had been published by the government. This text dictates the budgetary allocations for the coming year (1). Those involved in the cannabis industry were disappointed to find no reference or mention of medical cannabis experience in the PLFSS bill. Parliamentarians will now decipher sections of the bill and vote on amendments before it officially comes into force.
Returning to his position in favor of a European marketing authorization, he raises the possibility that it will not be granted by 2025. Rousseau put forward the idea that the government “would move to what is called compassionate access”, which is a “special scheme used to allow patients to access certain medicines still in development” (1).
During the meeting, Rousseau assured that the government would support the action and “present an amendment so that obviously all the beneficiaries of this experiment can continue to benefit from it”, thanks to an “adapted status which will then make it possible to see in the duration” (1).
Although the atmosphere surrounding the medical cannabis experiment is not yet clear, it is believed that it may continue beyond its planned date of March 2024.
- Stevens, B. French Health Minister Promises Continued Access to Medical Cannabis for Patients https://businessofcannabis.com/frances-health-minister-promises-continued-access-to-medical-cannabis-for-patients/ (accessed October 17, 2023).