Updated on April 24, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
While Poland has legalized medical marijuana, there are still rules you should keep in mind to medicate legally. Sticking to the law lets you use your medicine in peace without worrying about criminal prosecution.
Poland’s parliament passed a bill in 2017 that allowed pharmacies to offer cannabis medicine to patients. About 90% of all Polish pharmacies have the authorization to sell medical marijuana — that’s around 13,500 locations throughout the nation.
While pharmacies must import their marijuana from other countries, they can use it to make a wide range of medications. They can sell the bud as-is or produce items like concentrates, oils and tinctures. Before the medicinal cannabis bill, marijuana oil could only contain CBD, but now it can also include THC. Patients can use whatever their doctor approves for them.
While some countries like the United States require patients to register for a medical marijuana registry, Poland doesn’t have such a rule. They only have a program in the sense that the government has dedicated staff and processes for cannabis medicine. But, patients still need to go through a few steps to get approval to medicate.
You must have a qualifying condition to receive a prescription, but the bill leaves the term open to make room for any future scientific discoveries. It’s up to your physician to decide if you qualify. Once you get authorization from your doctor and pharmacist, you can get medicine.
Poland may permit medical cannabis, but they still forbid recreational sales and use. Drug possession can net someone up to three years in prison. But, Polish drug laws focus on recovery, so they offer leniency for people undergoing treatment or with small offenses. If you get caught with a small amount for private use, a prosecutor and judge can rule against any criminal proceedings.
Drug trafficking can earn someone anywhere from six months to eight years in prison — a much more severe punishment. In cases involving large amounts of drugs, a person can get up to 12 years of imprisonment.
Both political and medical experts have pointed out many issues with Poland’s medical cannabis legislation that limits access for patients. The most notable is its restrictions on domestic cultivation and trade — pharmacies and patients must obtain medicine from other countries. This rule not only increases the cost of medicinal cannabis, but it also limits the supply that people have access to.
The cultivation law also applies to patients, so they can’t grow their own cannabis medicine at home. This restriction means that they have no other choice but to pay the full price for medication.
Having medical marijuana laws in place allows Polish patients to use medication without worry. The country permits many kinds of medicinal marijuana, providing legal access to medicine that fits a patient’s needs. A prescription from a doctor serves as documented proof of someone’s qualifications to take marijuana medicine.
Similar protections apply for doctors. Just like prescribing another medication, they don’t have reason to fear prosecution if they prescribe medical marijuana in good faith. MP Piotr Liroy-Marzec also plans to establish a Polish Institute of Cannabis that will provide medical professionals with educational materials on cannabis medicine.
Cannabis laws frequently evolve in any country — Poland included. Considering they legalized medicinal marijuana only recently, amendments and new rules are bound to come up in the future. At MarijuanaDoctors.com, we want to keep you informed of any changes — that’s why we have a news and updates blog for savvy patients. Check back often to make sure you’re aware of the latest details.