Updated on December 28, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
With the launch of its medical marijuana program, Finland has passed a series of medical cannabis laws to ensure a smooth transition. Whether you’re a patient, doctor or caregiver to a loved one, it’s essential to understand Finland’s medical marijuana laws, especially since recreational weed remains prohibited.
Finland’s laws have a direct influence on the use of medical cannabis. Government legislation does not limit how patients administer their medical weed — you can vaporize, smoke, eat or drink your medical marijuana, as well as apply it as a topical. Minors and adults can both consume medical weed.
Your medical pot selection, however, is restricted. Finland receives its cannabis from Bedrocan, which supplies the strains Bedrocan, Bedica and Bediol. Pharmacies also offer Sativex, which is a cannabis-based medication for multiple sclerosis (MS).
As a patient, you’ll notice Finland’s laws affect its medical cannabis program in a few ways. One way is by requiring patients to submit a Special Permission for Compassionate Use application to the Finnish Medicines Agency (FIMEA) — an exemption is if you’re using Sativex.
The country’s medical cannabis laws also mandate that you renew your prescription, whether it’s for Sativex or medical weed, after using up your 30-day supply. This legislation encourages you to continue meeting with your specialist, too.
In Finland, recreational marijuana remains a criminal offense. Carrying, cultivating, transporting and selling weed are considered equal under Finnish law, which can result in steep fines and imprisonment when found with more than 15 grams of cannabis.
While some countries permit patients to grow marijuana for personal use, Finnish law prohibits it. Pharmacies are the exclusive distributor of recreational cannabis in Finland, as Bedrocan is the country’s sole supplier. Choosing to cultivate your weed can result in the termination of your Compassionate Use permit, as well as jail time.
As with many medical marijuana programs, there are limitations. One is that Finland limits patients to three strains of medical cannabis and prevents them from cultivating their own medical weed. For some patients, the Bedrocan strains may be ineffective compared to other strains.
Another drawback to Finland’s medical cannabis program is the length of Compassionate Use permits. They’re valid for one year, which means patients must reapply each year. For many, having to leave home for a new prescription can become an inconvenience, as they may be using medical marijuana over the long-term.
Protecting patients and their physicians is a core goal of Finland’s medical marijuana laws. The decision by the Finnish government to import medical weed rather than establish a system for cultivating was to ensure patients and their caretakers would have easy access to high-quality medical cannabis.
Finland’s decision to require specialists to prescribe medical marijuana, rather than general practitioners, was also intended to protect both patients and doctors. This mandate guarantees patients are meeting with a physician who is knowledgeable about their condition and the role medical marijuana could play in treatment.
At MarijuanaDoctors.com, we track the ever-changing medical cannabis laws in Finland and the rest of the world. If you’re interested in staying up-to-date on Finland’s medical marijuana laws, program, qualifications and more, you can trust us to deliver fast, accurate information.