Discussion on legalizing medical marijuana should take place, politicians say

Latvian politicians promise a discussion over legalizing medicinal marijuana, reported Latvian Radio February 14. 

Medicinal marijuana has been recently legalized in Lithuania, with the law coming into force this May.

Andris Skride, a doctor and an MP (Development/For!), said that a discussion over legalizing medicinal marijuana is in order.

"We have to go in step with the time, so that the patient – I stress this, that it's for the patient not for recreating – has access to medical and pain-relieving opportunities," he said.

Skride said, however, that legalizing marijuana for recreational use is out of the question.

"It's clear marijuana is addictive. Young people shouldn't smoke it. There's long-term danger for drivers. But here we're talking about medical purposes, so that people would have an easier time in their late years," he said.

Latvia's new Health Minister Ilze Viņķele (Development/For!) meanwhile said this would have to be discussed by doctors and pharmacists. "The opinions voiced hitherto are asymmetrical. There's a loud voice on the part of [Pēteris] Apinis, the former head of the Latvian Physicians' Association. While the other party is the initiative group. But I have not heard a single solid argument from the doctors and the pharmacists," she said.

In 2015 health officials quickly killed a public initiative to decriminalize growing, storing and using marijuana. 

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