Health Minister George Pamboridis on Friday said new legislation on medicinal cannabis not only aimed at improving the quality of life of patients in Cyprus, but also to attract investment, promote research and development, and create new workplaces.
The Cabinet on Wednesday approved a bill legalising the cultivation and commercial exploitation of medicinal cannabis in Cyprus.
On Friday, Pamboridis was speaking to reporters after the signing of a framework agreement with state doctors as part of the run-up to the new National Health Scheme (NHS).
“Government action and legislative action have a two-way relationship. In country there was something of a taboo in connection to the use of marijuana for medical purposes. This should not be the case,” the minister said.
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He continued: “From the moment even one patient can benefit from a derivative of cannabis and have a better quality of life, even if it does not cure their disease, would it be unacceptable for us as a society not to provide them with that opportunity”.
He also noted that studies around the world had found cannabis to be perhaps the most promising plant for pharmaceutical use “perhaps in decades”.
“It is not just about our patients because if it was we could introduce a means by which to bring in these preparations from other countries that already produce them,” Pamboridis said.
Pamboridis added that this is why provisions were made to attract foreign investment and encourage production in Cyprus.
“This is, I believe, a sector which can be connected to both cultivation and research to create new work places for scientists who have not been able to find employment in Cyprus until now,” he said, adding that the move could also attract non-Cypriot scientists to the island.