First Two Swedish Patients to Receive Medical Cannabis

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After years of legal dispute in Sweden, two chronic pain patients were given the right to use cannabis in the future to alleviate their pain.

veg-light-6520-2“It feels almost unreal. We fought every day for one-and-a-half years. Now, I can finally relieve my pain and get back into everyday life,” paraplegic Andreas Thörn stated on Swedish Television (SVT) after the decision of the Swedish “Medical Products Agency” (MPA). The police had found 100 grams of homegrown marijuana at Thörn’s house two years ago. The 37-year-old man, who had been paralyzed since 1994 after a motorcycle accident, was acquitted by a district court back in 2015 but convicted to a monetary fine by an appeal court last year. Now, the state agency has decided to relent:

“There is clearly some potential for abuse. This is a drug that is illegal to possess and consume. But we have other medicines that are also classed as narcotics. If the rules are correctly followed then there is no reason that [cannabis]should not be used as a preparation in a clinical setting,” Karl Mikael Kälkner, clinical assessor at the MPA, told the Swedish Press Agency TT. But Kälkner added that the decision is “not an approval of the use of cannabis in general.’ The plan is to set up licensing regulations similar to those which Germany just outlawed because they did not comply with the patient’s needs.

In Sweden, alcohol is taxed extremely high and can only be sold in state-licensed alcohol shops, and since the 1970s, politics have targeted a drug-free society. This unachievable goal manifests itself in the most repressive drug policy in Western Europe. Even for consumption, cannabis users can be sent to a closed facility for up to six months. The degree of acceptance for cannabis is still very low in Swedish society, the penalties for possession, production and transfer in the Swedish Narcotics Act are still draconian.

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett

About Author

Michael Knodt is an expert on cannabis politics and cannabis culture across Europe. Born in North Germany, Michael has been living in Berlin since 1990. He initially studied history and journalism before receiving his certification as a carpenter. Since then, Michael has made regular visits to countries where cannabis is cultivated, such as Jamaica and Morocco. He has worked as a freelancer for Weedmaps, Vice Magazine Germany, Sensi Seeds and numerous German-language cannabis magazines since 2004. From 2005 to 2013, Michael was the Editor-in-Chief of Germanys biggest cannabis periodical. He also is the face and presenter of the most popular program on cannabis prohibition and just launched a new channel called "DerMicha." Aside from his journalistic work, Michael is a cannabis patient, activist, sought-after speaker on conferences and congresses, and a father of two.

1 Comment

  1. This destroys my view of the Scandinavian countries as open and accepting. This view of cannabis is draconian and will not last.

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